Grossulariaceae (Gooseberry Family)


Currants and Gooseberries, substantial, woody shrubs from the genus Ribes, are the Bay Area's representatives of Grossulariaceae. They have alternate and usually palmately (hand-like) lobed leaves. The flowers are in racemes at the ends of the branches, with 5 petals and 5 stamens, with most of the calyx fused to the pistil. A fleshy, berry-like fruit develops below the calyx lobes.

Currant and Gooseberry grow well in home gardens. On Montara Mountain, we have Ribes menziesii (Coast Gooseberry) and Ribes sanguineum var glutinosum (Flowering Currant).



Ribes sanguineum
var. glutinosum:
Flowering Currant

Grossulariaceae (Gooseberry Family)

Flowers: Pink, 5 petaled, funnel and star shaped; in hanging cascades at ends of branches.

Blooms: February - April.

Leaves: Maple like in shape, soft, veined, with edges curving under.

Fruit/Seeds: Red berries ripening to dark blue; in hanging clusters, with numerous tan seeds inside. Jul-Aug.

Location: Moist slopes, creek banks.

Status: Native - Common.

Ribes sanguineum var glutinosum
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A closeup of the flower raceme. Note the shape and texture of the leaves - maple-like, but very soft.

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Above: Berry clusters first develop red, then ripen to dark blue with a light gray dusting. Edible and delicious when ripe.

Right: A favorite plant at the north end of Gray Whale Cove trail.

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Further description & Comment: 3 - 6 ft tall, upright branches with red new growth; deciduous.

Another closeup of the flower raceme, showing the star and funnel shapes of the flowers.
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