Ribes sanguineum

red flowering currant

Habit: this deciduous shrub grows with multiple or few stems in an upright to spreading form. Leaves are 3-5 lobed, with lightly toothed margins and indented veins, giving a wrinkled appearance.  Turning a  yellow to red color in autumn, the leaves drop leaving the orangish-red bark behind.  In early spring many clusters of small tubular pink flowers appear all over the plant with some congregations having up to 25 individual flowers.  Bluish-black edible berries follow, although have a very sour taste.

Ecology: native from Southwest British Columbia into Southern California between the Pacific Coast and the west slope of the Cascades.  Found growing in open forests, and dry rocky slopes from sea level to 6000 ft (1800 m)

Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade in well drained soil.  Drought resistant once established, extra water during the first two growing seasons will help with establishment.

Ribes sanguineum is a great choice for either restoration or  landscaping near the home.  The showy flowers in the spring provide nectar to hummingbirds and attract butterflies. A beautiful addition to a hedgerow.  We occasionally grow some of the many varieties of Ribes sangineum:  ‘Claremont’, ‘Elk River’, ‘Icicle’, ‘King Edward VII’, ‘Pokey’s Pink’, Pulsboough Scarlet’.  Please contact us about availability and additional information.

Always seek advice from a professional before consuming or using a plant medicinally.

**Illustration by Aislinn Adams2010


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Type: Deciduous Shrub
Height: 3-10 ft (1-3 m)
Width: 3-10 ft (1-3 m)
USDA Zones: 5
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.