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Currant - Red

  • Scientific Name: Ribes rubrum
  • Garden: Edibles and Herbs Garden
  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Evergreen/Deciduous: Deciduous
  • Sun/Shade Exposure: Full Sun
  • Moisture Requirements: Moist, Well-Drained

Plant Information

Flowering currant is not only a Northwest native, growing extensively from British Columbia south to northern California, but has also become popular garden shrub grown for its brightly colored and scented flowers in early spring. Morphology: This deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub grows 8’-10’ tall on upright-arching stems. It bears deep green leaves 2” wide, each with 3-5 lobes. The upper surfaces of the leaves are smooth, while the lower surfaces are white and finely hairy. The plants bloom in early spring (April to May), bearing 1”-3” long flower clusters (with 10-30 flowers per cluster) which hang down and seem to entirely cover the stems. There are both red ('King Edward VII') and white ('White Icicle') flowering cultivars available in the trade. Both hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the bloom. In the fall flowers give rise to blue-black fruit with whitish bloom. Songbirds readily consume the berries. Adaptation: Flowering currant does best on the west side of the Cascades. It does best in rocky, well-drained soil in sunny locations. Left on its own it should continue to bloom faithfully every spring. While it can be left un-pruned, it is advisable to cut branches that have flowered back to a strong pair of buds just after they have bloomed. In the fall berries can be consumed fresh (they are insipid however) or processed into jams or made into wine. Pests: None reported. Flower currant does however serve as the alternate host for white pine blister rust, which severely impacts western white pine trees

Data Source

Photo Credit

RIRU Fruit Red (©2022 Cheri Moland), RIRU(r) Leaf PB (©2020 Patricia Babbitt)