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This is the most common Gooseberry in Illinois (excluding cultivated forms). Like many other Gooseberries, it is a rather spiny shrub with palmately cleft leaves and odd drooping flowers. Missouri Gooseberry differs from Ribes cynosbati (Prickly Gooseberry), a less common species in Illinois, by the smooth surface of its berries; the latter has berries with a conspicuously prickly surface. The leaf bases of Prickly Gooseberry are usually more cordate than those of Missouri Gooseberry, and the stamens of its flowers are not exerted beyond the tubular calyx. Another species, Ribes hirtellum (Northern Gooseberry), is restricted to northern Illinois. This species has yellowish green flowers with tubular calyxes that are more broad, and its exerted stamens are up to twice the length of the corollas. Missouri Gooseberry has flowers that are more or less white; they have narrow tubular calyxes with exerted stamens that are at least twice the length of the calyx tubes (excluding their lobes). The branches of Missouri Gooseberry are usually more thorny than those of Northern Gooseberry; the larger thorns of the former are ½" or more in length, while the thorns of the latter are less than ½" in length.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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