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Red-flowering Currant - Ribes sanguineum
Family: Grossulariaceae? (Currant family) [E-flora]

"Ribes sanguineum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 2.5 m (8ft) at a medium rate."
"It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees."[PFAF]
Suitable for: "light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure." [PFAF]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

General: "Deciduous shrub, loosely branched, 1-3 m tall; stems erect, finely hairy, unarmed; bark brownish to reddish-brown." [IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: "Alternate, broadly kidney-shaped or rounded, shallowly heart-shaped at the base, 2-7 cm wide, equally to irregularly 5-lobed nearly half their length, the lobes rounded, shallowly 2-3 toothed, glabrous above, finely hairy below; stalks equal to or slightly shorter than the blades, finely hairy and sometimes glandular."[IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: "Inflorescence of 5-30 flowers in a spreading raceme equal to or longer than the leaves; flower stalks 1-5 mm long, jointed below the flowers, glandular; petals light to dark rose, rarely white, egg-shaped, 2.5-3.5 mm long; hypanthium nearly tubular to slightly bell-shaped, 3-5 mm long; calyces pale to deep rose, finely hairy and stalked-glandular; styles fused and glabrous, about equaling the stamens."[IFBC-E-flora]
Fruits: "Berries, round, blue-black, glaucous, 6-9 mm long, usually stalked-glandular."[IFBC-E-flora]
USDA Flower Colour: Red
USDA Blooming Period: Late Spring
USDA Fruit/Seed characteristics:

Colour: Purple
Present over the Summer [USDA-E-flora]

Habitat & Range
Habitat: Moist to dry forests and rock outcrops in the lowland and montane zones.[IFBC-E-flora]
Range: frequent in SW and SE BC north to 52degreeN; S to CA. [IFBC-E-flora]
Ecological Indicator
Shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Species occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-medium soils; their occurrence decreases with increasing elevation, precipitation, and continentality. Sporadic to scattered in early-seral communities and open-canopy Douglas-fir forests on water-shedding sites. Characteristic of moisture­ deficient sites.[IPBC-E-flora]

Edible Uses


"Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality[11, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in full sun, it is also quite tolerant of shade though it does not fruit so well in such a position[11]. Tolerates maritime exposure[49]. Hardy to about -25°c[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], there are a number of named varieties[182]. A plant labelled R. sanguineum carneum (which is probably the cultivar 'Carneum Grandiflorum') was seen at Kew with a very good crop of unripe fruit in July 1994[K]. A disease-resistant plant, the species is being used in blackcurrant breeding programmes[119]. Plants can harbour a stage of white pine blister rust, so should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees[155]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]."[PFAF]
Hedge: "Tolerates maritime exposure and can be grown as an informal hedge[29, 49]. It provides reasonable shelter when in leaf but is rather bare and gives little protection in winter[K]." [PFAF]


"Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification at between 0 and 5°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible[113, 164]. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year's growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors[78, 200]."[PFAF]

Ribes Sp.

Ribes sanguineum Pursh., R. bracteosum Dougl., R. hudsonianum Richards (Currants) R. lobbii Gray., R. divaricatum Dougl., R.lacustre Poir. (Gooseberries)


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Page last modified on 31-10-2016