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Overview

Brief Summary

Ribes rubrum, redcurrant, is a deciduous low-growing shrub in the Grossulariaceae (currant and gooseberry genus, although in many classifications formerly included in Saxifragaceae), native to northern Europe and northern Asia, which is widely cultivated for its fruit both commercially and in home gardens. Other red-fruited wild and cultivated currant species that may be known as red currants include R. sativum, sometimes called the cherry currant, as well as R. petraeum, R. longeracemosum, and R. multiflorum.

Redcurrants should not be confused with “Zante currants,” a widely sold dried fruit, which are actually from a seedless cultivar of the grape species, Vitis vinifera.

Ribes rubrum is generally grows to 1 to 1.5 m (3 to 4.5 ft) in height, with smooth or gland tipped hairy stems, lacking the spines or prickles that are common on many Ribes species. The leaves are alternate and simple, with 3 to 5 coarsely toothed lobes; the terminal lobe is longer than the side lobes. The small bisexual flowers, greenish to greenish brown, are borne in racemes (clusters) of 5 to 15 flowers. The flowers are somewhat campanulate (bell-shaped), with 5 purplish petals at the end. The smooth-skinned, globe-shaped fruit, which usually ripens to bright red (although some cultivars are pale red or green), is a juicy berry (a soft fleshy fruit with several to many soft seeds embedded in the pulp), with the remains of the calyx (flowering parts) persisting at the end. Fruits are up to 1.1 cm (0.5 in) in diameter.

The tart fruits, which are high in vitamin C, are sometimes eaten fresh, out of hand or in fruit salads (although generally with sugar added, as they can be quite sour). More typically, they are prepared into jams, jellies, syrups, and sorbets, and are used in a wide variety of baked goods and desserts.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 2010 commercial production of all species of currants (both red and black) was 640,968 metric tons harvested from 119,529 hectares in the Northern Hemisphere. The Russian Federation was the leading producer, alone responsible for 51% of the crop, with Poland contributing another 30%. Other countries that produced more than 1.5% of the total were Ukraine, Austria, United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark.

Ribes rubrum has naturalized in parts of North America and China after cultivation. The planting of this and other Ribes species was restricted in many northern U.S. states during the 1930s through 1950s, after it was discovered that Ribes species were an alternate host for white pine blister rust, Cronartium ribicola, a fungal disease that affects the commercially important white pine, Pinus strobus. Regulations prohibited planting of currants within a specified distance from pine stands. Although studies conducted in national forests in the 1960s suggested that removing Ribes made no difference in the incidence of the blister rust in pine stands, Ribes remains listed as a noxious weed in Michigan and is restricted in Maine.

(Bailey et al. 1976, Carlson 1978, Flora of China 2003, Michigan Flora Online 2011, USDA PLANTS 2012, van Wyk 2005.)

  • Bailey, L.H., E.Z. Bailey, and the L.H. Bailey Hortatorium. 1976. Hortus Third: A concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United States and Canada. New York: Macmillan. pp. 969–971.
  • Carlson, C.E. 1978. Noneffectiveness of Ribes eradication as a control of white pine blister rust in Yellowstone National Park. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Region, Forest Insect and Disease Management Report No. 78-18. November 1978. Accessed online 20 July 2012 from http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/handle/1957/3494.
  • FAOSTAT. 2012. Searchable online statistical database from Food and Agriculture Division of the United Nations. Retrieved 22 July 2012 from http://faostat.fao.org/site/567/DesktopDefault.aspx?PageID=567#ancor.
  • Flora of China. 2001. 29. RIBES Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 200. 1753. Flora of China 8: 428–452. Accessed 17 July 2012 from http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/PDF/PDF08/RIBES.pdf.
  • MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. 2011. Reznicek, A. A., E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. University of Michigan. Web. 7-22-2012. http://www.michiganflora.net/home.aspx.
  • USDA PLANTS. 2012. Michigan state-listed noxious weeds. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Plants Databased. Accessed 22 July 2012 from http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxious?rptType=State&statefips=26.
  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. “Ribes rubrum.Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide. Portland, OR: Timber Press. p. 322.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrubs 1-1.5 m tall. Branchlets glabrous or scattered shortly stalked glandular, unarmed. Buds purplish brown, oblong-ovoid to oblong, 5-7 mm, apex obtuse or acute. Petiole 3-6 cm, sometimes puberulent, glandular hairy near base; leaf blade suborbicular, 3-7 × 4-9 cm, glabrous, rarely puberulent abaxially or sparsely stalked glandular along veins, base cordate, rarely subtruncate; lobes 3-5, broadly ovate-triangular, margin coarsely sharply serrate, apex obtuse to acute; terminal lobe subequaling lateral ones. Racemes erect then nodding, 2-6 cm, 5-15-flowered; rachis and pedicels sparsely shortly stalked glandular; bracts broadly ovate, rarely suborbicular, 1-2 mm, glabrous. Flowers bisexual, 6-8 mm in diam.; pedicel 3-5 mm. Calyx greenish or greenish brown, glabrous; tube pelviform, 1-1.5 mm; lobes erect, spatulate-orbicular, 2-2.5 mm. Petals purplish, subspatulate to subflabellate, 0.5-1 mm. Stamens equaling or longer than petals. Ovary glabrous. Style equaling or longer than stamens, 2-lobed. Fruit red, globose, rarely ellipsoid, 0.8-1.1 cm in diam., glabrous. Fl. May-Jun, fr. Jul-Aug.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Ribes scandicum Hedlund; R. spicatum E. Robson; R. sylvestre Syme.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat & Distribution

NE China (precise distribution unknown) [N Asia; Europe].
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Red Currant in Illinois

Ribes rubrum (Red Currant) introduced
(Wasps suck nectar, while flies suck nectar or feed on pollen; observations are from Graenicher)

Wasps
Ichneumonidae: Stenomacrus femoralis

Flies
Sepsidae: Themira putris

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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
hypophyllous telium of Cronartium ribicola parasitises leaf of Ribes rubrum cv.
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / gall
hypophyllous Cryptomyzus ribis causes gall of red blister-galled leaf of Ribes rubrum cv.
Remarks: season: spring-summer, early autumn-

Foodplant / spot causer
acervulus of Gloeosporidiella coelomycetous anamorph of Drepanopeziza ribis causes spots on live, often yellowing fruit (unripe) of Ribes rubrum cv.
Remarks: season: (5-)7-9
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / sap sucker
Hyperomyzus rhinanthi sucks sap of live Ribes rubrum cv.

Foodplant / saprobe
hypophyllous, immersed pseudothecium of Mycosphaerella ribis is saprobic on dead, fallen leaf of Ribes rubrum cv.
Remarks: season: 3-5

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Foodplant / sap sucker
Aphis schneideri sucks sap of live, stunted, distorted leaf (terminal) of Ribes rubrum

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / pathogen
Armillaria mellea s.l. infects and damages Ribes rubrum
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
hypophyllous telium of Cronartium ribicola parasitises leaf of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: 7-10
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / gall
hypophyllous Cryptomyzus ribis causes gall of red blister-galled leaf of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: spring-summer, early autumn-

Foodplant / feeds on
gregarious, covered then erumpent pycnidium of coelomycetous anamorph of Diaporthe pungens feeds on stem of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: 1-4

Foodplant / saprobe
Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Diaporthe strumella is saprobic on attached, dead branch of Ribes rubrum

Foodplant / saprobe
stromatic, immersed pseudothecium of Dothiora ribesia is saprobic on dead twig of Ribes rubrum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
acervulus of Gloeosporidiella coelomycetous anamorph of Drepanopeziza ribis causes spots on live, often yellowing fruit (unripe) of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: (5-)7-9
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Flammulina velutipes var. velutipes parasitises moribund wood of Ribes rubrum
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent, stalked, solid, brown stroma (pycnidial) of Fuckelia coelomycetous anamorph of Godronia ribis is saprobic on dead branch of Ribes rubrum

Foodplant / sap sucker
Hyperomyzus lactucae sucks sap of live, distorted, yellowed leaf (young) of Ribes rubrum
Other: minor host/prey

Fungus / parasite
mainly epiphyllous conidial anamorph of Microsphaera grossulariae parasitises live leaf of Ribes rubrum

Foodplant / saprobe
hypophyllous, immersed pseudothecium of Mycosphaerella ribis is saprobic on dead, fallen leaf of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: 3-5

Plant / resting place / on
egg of Nasonovia ribisnigri may be found on Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: winter
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Nematus ribesii grazes on leaf of Ribes rubrum

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Phylloporia ribis parasitises live trunk (base) of Ribes rubrum
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
few, epiphyllous pycnidium of Phyllosticta coelomycetous anamorph of Phyllosticta ribicola causes spots on live leaf of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: 8-10

Foodplant / parasite
effuse colony of Plasmopara ribicola parasitises yellowed leaf of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: 6

Foodplant / saprobe
becoming superficial, scattered pycnidium of Pleurophoma coelomycetous anamorph of Pleurophoma pleurospora is saprobic on dead Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: 3,11

Fungus / parasite
conidial anamorph of Podosphaera mors-uvae parasitises live shoot (young) of Ribes rubrum

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pristiphora pallipes grazes on leaf of Ribes rubrum

Foodplant / parasite
aecium of Puccinia caricina var. pringsheimiana parasitises live, often swollen shoot of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: spring-early summer
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
aecium of Puccinia caricina var. ribis-nigri-lasiocarpae parasitises live Ribes rubrum
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / sap sucker
Schizoneura ulmi sucks sap of live, softly woolly root of Ribes rubrum
Remarks: season: summer

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ribes rubrum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Wikipedia

Redcurrant

The redcurrant (or red currant), Ribes rubrum, is a member of the genus Ribes in the gooseberry family Grossulariaceae, native to parts of western Europe (Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, northern Italy, northern Spain, Portugal and Poland). It is a deciduous shrub normally growing to 1–1.5 m (3-5 feet) tall, occasionally 2 m (6.5 feet), with five-lobed leaves arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are inconspicuous yellow-green, in pendulous 4–8 cm (1.5-3 inch) racemes, maturing into bright red translucent edible berries about 8–12 mm (.3-.8 inch) diameter, with 3–10 berries on each raceme. An established bush can produce 3–4 kilos (6.5-9 lbs) of berries from mid to late summer.

Cultivation[edit]

Redcurrant berries

There are several other similar species native in Europe, Asia and North America, also with edible fruit, though usually considered to have an inferior flavour. These include Ribes spicatum (northern Europe and northern Asia), Ribes alpinum (northern Europe), R. schlechtendalii (northeast Europe), R. multiflorum (southeast Europe), R. petraeum (southwest Europe) and R. triste (North America; Newfoundland to Alaska and southward in mountains).

While Ribes rubrum and R. nigrum are native to northern and eastern Europe, large berried cultivars of the redcurrant were first produced in Belgium and northern France in the 17th century. In modern times, numerous cultivars have been selected; some of these have escaped gardens and can be found in the wild across Europe and extending into Asia.[1]

The white currant is also a cultivar of Ribes rubrum.[2] Although it is a sweeter and albino variant of the redcurrant, it is not a separate botanical species and is sometimes marketed with names such as Ribes sativum or Ribes silvestre, or sold as a different fruit.

Close-up of blossom

Currant bushes prefer partial to full sunlight and can grow in most types of soil.[2] They are relatively low-maintenance plants and can also be used as ornamentation.

Currant and gooseberry output in 2005

Culinary uses[edit]

A fruiting redcurrant bush near an abandoned house in a semi-deserted village in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia at 59 degrees northern latitude

With maturity, the tart flavour of redcurrant fruit is slightly greater than its blackcurrant relative, but with the same approximate sweetness. The albino variant of redcurrant, often referred to as white currant, has the same tart flavour but with greater sweetness. Although frequently cultivated for jams and cooked preparations, much like the white currant, it is often served raw or as a simple accompaniment in salads, garnishes, or drinks when in season.

Redcurrant cuttings

In the United Kingdom, redcurrant jelly is a condiment traditionally served with lamb in a Sunday roast. It is essentially a jam and is made in the same way, by adding the redcurrants to sugar, boiling, and straining.[3]

In France, the highly rarefied and hand-made Bar-le-duc or Lorraine jelly is a spreadable preparation traditionally made from white currants or alternatively red currants.

In Scandinavia and Schleswig-Holstein, it is often used in fruit soups and summer puddings (Rødgrød, Rote Grütze or Rode Grütt). In Germany it is also used in combination with custard or meringue as a filling for tarts. In Linz, Austria, it is the most commonly used filling for the Linzer torte.[4] It can be enjoyed in its fresh state without the addition of sugar.

In German-speaking areas, syrup or nectar derived from the red currant is added to soda water and enjoyed as a refreshing drink named Johannisbeerschorle. It is so named because the redcurrants (Johannisbeeren, "John's berry" in German) are said to ripen first on St. John's Day, also known as Midsummer Day, June 24.

In Russia, redcurrants are ubiquitous and used in jams, preserves, compotes and desserts; while leaves have many uses in traditional medicine.

Currants, red and white, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy234 kJ (56 kcal)
13.8 g
Sugars7.37 g
Dietary fiber4.3 g
0.2 g
1.4 g
Vitamins
Thiamine (B1)
(3%)
0.04 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
(4%)
0.05 mg
Niacin (B3)
(1%)
0.1 mg
(1%)
0.064 mg
Vitamin B6
(5%)
0.07 mg
Folate (B9)
(2%)
8 μg
Choline
(2%)
7.6 mg
Vitamin C
(49%)
41 mg
Vitamin E
(1%)
0.1 mg
Vitamin K
(10%)
11 μg
Trace metals
Calcium
(3%)
33 mg
Iron
(8%)
1 mg
Magnesium
(4%)
13 mg
Manganese
(9%)
0.186 mg
Phosphorus
(6%)
44 mg
Potassium
(6%)
275 mg
Sodium
(0%)
1 mg
Zinc
(2%)
0.23 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Verlag, Orbis "Orbis Naturführer", 2000,
  2. ^ a b "redcurrant". growyourown. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  3. ^ "Homemade Redcurrant Jelly recipe". www.cookitsimply.com. 
  4. ^ Haywood, A and Walker, K "Upper Austria - Linz", Lonely Planet - Austria p. 207
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Notes

Comments

This species is cultivated as an ornamental in cold regions and is also used for making fruit drinks and wine.
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