Ribes americanum

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Ribes americanum
Ribes americanum.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
R. americanum
Binomial name
Ribes americanum
Mill. 1768

Ribes americanum is a North American species of flowering plant in the gooseberry family known by the common names American black currant,[3] wild black currant, and eastern black currant. It is widespread in much of Canada (from Alberta to Nova Scotia), the northern United States (from New England to Washington, with additional populations in Colorado and New Mexico).[4]


Ribes americanum is a shrub growing 0.5 to 1.5 meters (20-60 inches) in height. The branches are erect and bear deciduous leaves. There are no spines. The plant may form thickets.[5] The glandular leaves are up to 7–8 cm (3–3 in) long and have 3 or 5 lobes. They turn red and gold in the fall.[5][6][7]

The inflorescence is a spreading or drooping raceme of up to 15 flowers. Each flower has reflexed white or greenish sepals a few millimeters long and smaller whitish petals. The fruit is a smooth rounded black berry about a centimeter (0.4 inch) wide and edible when cooked.[6] The plant reproduces mostly by seed.[7]


This shrub grows in a variety of ecosystems. It occurs in many types of forests and in conifer bogs. In Manitoba it can be found in marshes. In Michigan and Minnesota it is invasive in sedge meadows (Carex spp.). It grows on plains and in mountains and sometimes in disturbed areas such as roadsides. It is shade-tolerant, growing in the understory of closed-canopy woodlands and forests.[7]

This plant is an alternate host for the white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola), the vector of a pine tree disease. It is sometimes eradicated in attempts to control the rust.[7]


Native Americans made pemmican from the berries,[8] which are also known for being made into jam and jelly.[7] It has also been introduced to northern China.[6][9]


  1. ^ "Ribes americanum". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Gardens – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ "Ribes americanum". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  3. ^ "Ribes americanum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Ribes americanum". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Ribes americanum" (PDF). USDA NRCS Plant Guide. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Morin, Nancy R. (2009). "Ribes americanum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 8. New York and Oxford. Retrieved January 20, 2012 – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  7. ^ a b c d e Marshall, K. Anna (1995). "Ribes americanum". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Retrieved January 20, 2012 – via https://www.feis-crs.org/feis/.
  8. ^ Reiner, Ralph E. (1969). Introducing the Flowering Beauty of Glacier National Park and the Majestic High Rockies. Glacier Park, Inc. p. 124.
  9. ^ Lu, Lingdi; Alexander, Crinan. "Ribes americanum". Flora of China – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

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