Ribes montigenum

Gooseberry currant


The Basics

Taxonomy: Kingdom - Plantae (plants). Subkingdom - Tracheobionta (vascular plants). Superdivision - Spermatophyta (seed plants). Division - Magnoliophyta (flowering plants). Class - Magnoliopsida (dicotyledons). Subclass - Rosidae. Order - Rosales. Family - Grossulariaceae (currant). Genus - Ribes L. Species - Ribes montigenum McClatchie

Ecology: Gooseberry currant is somewhat shade tolerant. It grows in dense forests with few canopy openings, but it occurs most often and grows most vigorously on sites without forest canopy. Gooseberry currant occurs on a variety of sites. It is found in dry, rocky places from the middle subalpine zone to timberline, sometimes extending into alpine communities. It grows on open, talus or scree slopes, on ridges, and in boulder fields, meadows, and forests. It may also occur along streams and in wet forests, ravines, and washes.


Plants 0.7-1.5 m. Stems spread-ing or decumbent, copiously pubescent, puberulent, and stipitate-glandular; spines at nodes 1-5, (1.5-)4-6(-10) mm; prickles on internodes sparse to dense. Leaves: petiole 0.7-4(-5) cm, pubescent, stipitate-glandular; blade pentagonal, irregularly 5-lobed, cleft 2/3-3/4 to midrib, (0.5-)1-3.5(-4) cm, base cordate, surfaces densely pubescent or stipitate-glandular, lobes cuneate-rounded, margins irregularly serrate, toothed apex somewhat acute. Inflorescences pendent, 3-8 (-11)-flowered racemes, 2-3 cm, axis puberulent, stipitate-glandular, flowers evenly spaced. Pedicels jointed, 1-4(-5) mm, puberulent, stipitate-glandular; bracts lanceolate-ovate, 1.3-3 mm, puberulent, stipitate-glandular. Flowers: hypanthium pinkish to orangish, saucer-shaped, 0.5-1.5 mm, pubescent and stipitate-glandular abaxially, glabrous adaxially; sepals separated, spreading, green to yellowish, pink, red, orange, or white, sometimes with pale yellow, scarious margins, broadly ovate to obovate, 2.5-4 mm; petals widely separated, erect, red, pinkish, or purplish, cuneate-lunate, not conspicuously revolute or inrolled, 0.9-1.5 mm; nectary disc yellowish, pinkish, or red, flat, 5-angled, covering most of ovary; stamens as long as petals; filaments linear, (0.5-)0.9-1.6 mm, glabrous; anthers yellow or cream, oblate to transversely elliptic, 0.5-0.8 mm, broader than long, apex notched; ovary sparsely to thickly, usually purplish glandular-bristly; styles connate ca. 4/5 their lengths, 1.1-1.8 mm, glabrous. Berries somewhat palatable, bright red, obovoid-spheric, 5-10 mm, glandular-bristly.


Pests and pathogens: White pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) is a fungus that attacks both wild and cultivated species of gooseberry and currant. The wild species stink currant (R. bracteosum), flowering currant (R. sanguineum), Sierra gooseberry (R. roezlii), and Sierra currant (R. nevadense) are very susceptible. The white or five-needled pine is an alternate host for the fungus. Rust of white pine has caused severe losses. Susceptible currants and gooseberries cannot be planted safely nearer than 1000 ft and preferably 0.5 mile from white pine. Ribes and white pines are adapted to disturbance and frequently co-occur in fo rest and woodland ecosystems.


Seed production: Ribes spp. generally begin fruiting after 3 years. Many seeds fall beneath the parent plant; they are also dispersed by birds and animals. Fallen seeds of Ribes spp. may remain viable in the soil and duff for many years

Species Distribution


USDA Plants Database
USDA, NRCS. 2016. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

USFS Plant Database
Habeck, R. J. 1992. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.

The Jepson Herbarium
The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California. B.G. Baldwin, D.H. Goldman, D.J. Keil, R. Patterson, T.J. Rosatti, and D.H. Wilken [editors]. 2012. 2nd edition, thoroughly revised and expanded. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Flora of North America
Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 19+ vols. New York and Oxford.

PNW Plant Diseases
PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook. 2016 [Online]. Pacific Northwest Extension. Oregon State University.

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Burke Museum. 2016 [Online]. University of Washington.
Photo credit: G.D. Carr 2011
Photo credit: Bud Kovalchik