Ribes hudsonianum

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Northern black currant
R. hudsonianum growing in Clearwater National Forest
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species: R. hudsonianum
Binomial name
Ribes hudsonianum

Ribes hudsonianum is a North American species of currant, known by the common name northern black currant.

Ribes hudsonianum grows in moist wooded areas, such as mountain streambanks and in swamp thickets. They are upright to erect shrubs growing one half to 2 meters (20-80 inches) tall. They are aromatic, with a strong scent generally considered unpleasant.[4] Stems are covered in shiny, yellow resin glands that lack spines or prickles. Leaves are up to 10 centimeters long, divided into three, or rarely five, sharp-toothed lobes, having long hairs on the undersides, studded with yellow glands. Inflorescences are erect, spikelike racemes of up to 50 flowers. Each flower is roughly tubular, with the whitish sepals spreading open to reveal smaller whitish petals within. Fruits are bitter-tasting, black berries, about a centimeter (0.4 inch) wide with a waxy surface, speckled with yellow glands.[4]

The species is divided into two varieties,[2] each known simultaneously as northern black currants, and by their own individual common, and scientific names; the type variety, R. h. var. hudsonianum, is also known as the Hudson Bay currant;[2][5] whereas R. h. var. petiolare is also known as the western black currant.[2][3]

Hudson Bay currants are found in every province in Canada, from Quebec westwards; and parts of the United States (Alaska, the Great Lakes region, the northern Rockies, Cascades, Blue Mountains, and other parts of the Northwest).[6][7]

Although Western black currants are found in British Columbia, they are distributed primarily south of Canada in the western U.S. (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, northern Nevada, northern California, and Utah).[3]

The only states or provinces where both varieties are present are British Columbia in Canada; and the U.S. states of Idaho and Washington.[2]


  1. ^  Species was originally described and published in Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea ed. 2. 734 (–735). 1823. "Plant Name Details for Ribes hudsonianum". IPNI. Retrieved July 26, 2010. Type Information: Locality; calcareous soil, dry woods. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Profile for Ribes hudsonianum (northern black currant)". PLANTS Database. USDA, NRCS. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Profile for Ribes hudsonianum var. petiolare (western black currant)". PLANTS Database. USDA, NRCS. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Flora of North America, Ribes hudsonianum
  5. ^ "Profile for Ribes hudsonianum var. hudsonianum (Hudson Bay currant)". PLANTS Database. USDA, NRCS. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 state-level distribution map
  7. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map

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