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Plant Highlight: Ribes speciosum

March 2004

The genus Ribes is in the family Grossulariaceae, mostly native to the northern hemisphere and found both in Eurasia and in North America.  The many species included in Ribes are shrubs, and are commonly known as gooseberries and currants.  These two groups are easily distinguished, because the gooseberries are spiny while the currants are not.  Some botanists prefer to keep these in separate genera, classifying the gooseberries in the genus Grossularia and the currants in Ribes, but most treat the two as subgenera within Ribes.  Both the gooseberries and currants are widely grown in temperate regions, valued as ornamentals and also for their tasty berries (a few species, however, have an unpleasant flavor).

Among the native California species of Ribes is R. speciosum, also called the Fuchsia-Flowered Gooseberry.