Ribes aureum

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Golden currant
Ribes aureum var aureum 4.jpg
Ribes aureum var. aureum, Spring Mountains, Nevada.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Subgenus: Ribes subg. Ribes
Section: Ribes sect. Symphocalyx
R. aureum
Binomial name
Ribes aureum
Pursh 1813
  • Chrysobotrya aurea (Pursh) Rydb.
  • Chrysobotrya intermedia Spach
  • Chrysobotrya lindleyana Spach
  • Chrysobotrya odorata (H.L.Wendl.) Rydb.
  • Chrysobotrya revoluta Spach
  • Coreosma longiflora Lunell
  • Coreosma odorata (H.L.Wendl.) Nieuwl.
  • Ribes aureum var. longiflorum (Nutt.) Jancz.
  • Ribes aureum var. tenuiflorum (Lindl.) Jeps.
  • Ribes flavum Berland.
  • Ribes fragrans Lodd.
  • Ribes longiflorum Nutt.
  • Ribes odoratum H.L.Wendl.
  • Ribes odoratum var. intermedium (Spach) Rehder ex A. Berger
  • Ribes palmatum Deshmukh
  • Ribes tenuiflorum Lindl.

Ribes aureum, known by the common names golden currant,[2] clove currant, pruterberry and buffalo currant, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Ribes.[3] It is native to Canada, most of the United States (except the southeast) and northern Mexico. The variety Ribes aureum var. villosum is sometimes considered a full species, Ribes odoratum.[4][5]

It belongs to the subgenus Ribes, which contains other currants, such as the blackcurrant and redcurrant (Ribes nigrum and rubrum), and is the sole member of the section Symphocalyx.[6]


Ribes aureum is a small to medium-sized deciduous shrub, 2–3 metres (6.6–9.8 ft) tall. Leaves are green, with 3 or 5 lobes, turning red in autumn.[7]

The plant blooms in spring with racemes of conspicuous golden yellow flowers, often with a pronounced, spicy fragrance similar to that of cloves or vanilla. Flowers may also be shades of cream to reddish, and are borne in clusters of up to 15.[8] The shrub produces berries about 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) in diameter from an early age. Ripe fruits, amber yellow to black, are edible raw, but very tart, and are usually cooked with sugar. The flowers are also edible.[8][7]


  • Ribes aureum var. aureum: below 3,000 feet (910 m) in the western U.S.[9]
  • Ribes aureum var. gracillimum: below 3,000 feet (910 m) in the California Coast Ranges[10]
  • Ribes aureum var. villosum—clove currant (syn: Ribes odoratum); native west of Mississippi River, but naturalized further to the east[5]



Ribes aureum is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, in traditional, native plant, drought tolerant, and wildlife gardens, and natural landscaping projects.[11] Unlike some other species of currants, Ribes aureum is in the remarkably drought-tolerant group of Ribes. Named cultivars have been introduced also.

Although the flowers are hermaphroditic, the yield is greatly benefited by cross-pollination.

Culinary and medicinal[edit]

The berries are edible but bitter.[12]

The berries were used for food, and other plant parts for medicine, by various Native American groups across its range in North America.[8][13]


Rust host

This currant species is susceptible to white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola), a fungus which attacks and kills pines, so it is sometimes eradicated from forested areas where the fungus is active to prevent its spread.[8][14]


  1. ^ "Ribes aureum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ "Ribes aureum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Ribes aureum". Plants for a Future.
  4. ^ "Ribes odoratum". Plants for a Future.
  5. ^ a b Morin, Nancy R. (2009). "Ribes aureum var. villosum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 8. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  6. ^ "Ribes aureum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  7. ^ a b Morin, Nancy R. (2009). "Ribes aureum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 8. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  8. ^ a b c d USDA Species Profile
  9. ^ Jepson Manual treatment for Ribes aureum var. aureum
  10. ^ Jepson Manual treatment for Ribes aureum var. gracillimum
  11. ^ Las Pilitas Nursery horticultural treatment: Ribes aureum . accessed 1.30.2013
  12. ^ Fagan, Damian (2019). Wildflowers of Oregon: A Field Guide to Over 400 Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of the Coast, Cascades, and High Desert. Guilford, CT: FalconGuides. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-4930-3633-2. OCLC 1073035766.
  13. ^ University of Michigan (Dearborn): Ethnobotany
  14. ^ Marshall, K. Anna (1995). "Ribes aureum". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory – via https://www.feis-crs.org/feis/.

External links[edit]