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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Red-flowering currant (family: Grossulariaceae) produces numerous small flowering spurs on multiple thornless stems. It grows at a moderate rate up to 10 ft. and develops an upright to spreading form. Deciduous, alternate leaves are 1-3 in. and rounded with 3-5 shallow lobes and deep veins lending a wrinkled appearance. They are green above and dull green beneath due to fine hairs and turn yellow to reddish in mid to late summer. Leaves of some plants are pungent when crushed. Numerous 2-6 in. long, nodding clusters of5-25 flowers appear in March to June. The flowers are composed of pink to deep red (rarely white) tubular fused sepals and small protruding red or white flower petals. Blue-black berries smaller than 0.5 in. have a thin white waxy coating, hold about 20 seeds each, and mature in early to mid summer. Thin orange or red tinted bark turns gray-brown and peels from older stems.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

Also known as Ribessanguineum Pursh forma atrorubens (Loudon) Rehder, R. glutinosum Benth, Coreosma sanguinea (Pursh) Spach and Calobotrya sanguinea (Pursh) Spach. Common names include redflower currant, blood currant, winter currant, and pink-flowering currant.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Adaptation

Red flowering currant is a moderately long-lived woody perennial hardy to -4°F. It prefers sun or partial shade and well-drained, moderately fertile soil of near neutral or slightly acidic pH. Plants are commonly found from southwest British Columbia through western Washington and Oregon (mostly west of the Cascade Mountains crest) and the California Coast Ranges to Santa Barbara County. There are also small relict populations in northern Idaho. Red-flowering currant habitat includes open woods, forest gaps, dry rocky slopes and disturbed sites from sea level up to 6,000 ft. For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Ecology

Dispersal

Establishment

Red-flowering currant is a pioneer species sprouting from seed or root crowns following fire. It is propagated by seed, cuttings or layering. Heavy seed crops occur every second or third year and 100 lbs. of berries will yield about 4 lbs. of seed. There are approximately 284,000 seeds per pound. Seed is naturally distributed by birds and small mammals and may remain viable in soil for several years. Fall sowing or cold moist storage (stratification) near 32°F for 30-140 days may aid germination. Propagation with cuttings has been successful with soft wood in spring, semi-hard wood in summer and hard wood collected during the dormant season. Rooting may improve by including a ‘heel’ of older wood and using bottom heat, mist, or rooting hormone. Red-flowering currant generally does not establish well using soil bioengineering practices such as live stakes or fascines but may be successful on particularly favorable sites with supplemental irrigation or with mulch.

© University of Washington Press

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / pathogen
Armillaria mellea s.l. infects and damages Ribes sanguineum

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

Foodplant / feeds on
conidioma of Dichomera coelomycetous anamorph of Dichomera ribicola feeds on Ribes sanguineum

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

Foodplant / sap sucker
Parthenolecanium corni sucks sap of live shoot of Ribes sanguineum

Fungus / parasite
Podosphaera mors-uvae parasitises Ribes sanguineum

Foodplant / parasite
pycnium of Puccinia caricina parasitises stem of Ribes sanguineum
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
aecium of Puccinia caricina var. pringsheimiana parasitises live Ribes sanguineum

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ribes sanguineum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

This plant is critically imperiled within Idaho and planting of currants is restricted in Michigan. Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Threats

Pests and potential problems

Red-flowering currant is fairly resistant to most insect and disease pests of this genus including aphids and currant fruit fly (Euphranta canadensis). It is susceptible to currant borer (Synanthedon tipuliformis), oak root fungus (Armillaria mellea) and seedlings may be susceptible to damping off disease.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

There are four geographical botanical varieties of Ribes sanguineum. More than a dozen named cultivars and hybrids are routinely available as container stock from retail nurseries. Popular choices include ‘White Icicle’ (early white flowers) ‘Pinky Pig’ (pink flowers) and ‘King Edward VII’ (compact with deep red flowers).

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Environmental concerns

Red-flowering currant spreads slowly by seed, root sprouting and layering. As an alternate host of white pine blisterrust (Cronartium ribicola), red-flowering currant has been considered a weed in several timber states and, along with other Ribes sp., was the subject of extensive eradication efforts in the past. It is non-toxic to humans and wildlife.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Provide supplemental water during the first and perhaps second season but allow soil to dry 3-4 in. down between irrigations and do not provide water after mid to late summer when leaves naturally begin to fall. Prune immediately after flowering to encourage vigorous growth suitable for future flower bearing.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

Red-flowering currant is a drought tolerant deciduous shrub that may be useful in restoration plantings. It provides early spring nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies, forage for the larvae of more than two dozen species of moths and butterflies, and nesting sites or cover for songbirds and small mammals. Numerous birds including grouse, quail, robins, finches, towhees, and woodpeckers, and small mammals consume the berries. Red-flowering currant provides occasional browse for game animals and modest forage value for sheep and cattle. Abundant showy flowers make this plant attractive as a landscape specimen or informal hedge and more than a dozen selections and hybrids are featured in the ornamental trade. Berries, although very tart, are considered suitable by some for jam, jelly, pie, juice or syrup. Native Americans ate the berries fresh or dried. This species has been investigated for medicinal anti bacterial and anti viral properties and is used in currant fruit breeding programs to confer resistance to anthracnose, powdery mildew and currant stem borer.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Ribes sanguineum

Ribes sanguineum (flowering currant or red-flowering currant) is a species of flowering plant in the family Grossulariaceae, native to western coastal North America from central British Columbia south to central California.

Description[edit]

It is a deciduous shrub growing to 2 m (7 ft) tall and broad. The bark is dark brownish-grey with prominent paler brown lenticels. The leaves are 2–7 cm long and broad, palmately lobed with five lobes; when young in spring, they have a strong resinous scent. The flowers are produced in early spring at the same time as the leaves emerge, on racemes 3–7 cm long of 5–30 flowers; each flower is 5–10 mm diameter, with five red or pink petals. The fruit is a dark purple oval berry 1 cm long, edible but with an insipid taste.[1]

Cultivation[edit]

Ribes sanguineum was introduced into cultivation by 19th century Scottish botanist David Douglas. It and its varieties and cultivars are popular garden shrubs, valued for their brightly colored and scented flowers in early spring, and birds and habitat support.

Numerous cultivars have been selected with flowers ranging from white to dark red.

Varieties[edit]

  • var. glutinosum
  • var. sanguineum[2]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  2. ^ "Ribes sanguineum". CalFlora. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
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