Ribes laxiflorum

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Ribes laxiflorum
Ribes laxiflorum (Flower).jpg
R. laxiflorum specimen at the Botanical Garden in Berlin
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species: R. laxiflorum
Binomial name
Ribes laxiflorum
Pursh 1813[1]

Ribes affine Douglas ex Bong.
Ribes coloradense Coville [1]

Ribes laxiflorum is a species of currant known by the common names trailing black currant, and spreading currant.[1] It is native to western North America from Alaska and Yukon south as far as northern California and New Mexico;[2] it has also been found in Siberia. Its habitat includes moist mountain forests, open clearings, streambanks, and the borders of mountain roads.


Ribes laxiflorum is a spreading, trailing shrub usually growing one half to one meter (20-40 inches) in height. It has been known to take a somewhat vine-like form in appropriate shady habitat with nearby supports, climbing to seven meters (23 feet) in length.[3] It has fuzzy, glandular stems lacking spines and prickles. The hairy, glandular, maple-shaped leaves are up to 10 centimeters long and deeply divided into several pointed lobes lined with dull teeth. The inflorescence is a mostly erect raceme of up to eight flowers. The distinctive flower has five greenish, purplish, or red sepals which are often curved back at the tips. At the center is a corolla of five red or pink petals each measuring a millimeter long, narrow at the base and wider or club-shaped at the tip. Inside the corolla are five red stamens tipped with whitish anthers. The fruit is a purple-black berry measuring four to fourteen millimeters wide which is waxy, hairy, or bristly in texture.[3]


The berries are eaten locally (variously fresh, boiled, or as preserves) by Bella Coola, Haisla, Hanaksiala, Hesquiat, Kwakiutl, Lummi, Makah, Oweekeno, Skagit, and Tanana peoples.[4]

Other traditions use R. laxiflorum for: an infusion to make an eyewash (roots and or branches, by the Bella Coolah).[4]

Decoctions of: bark to remedy tuberculosis (with the roots, by the Skokomish); or for the common cold (Skagit): leaves and twigs, as a general tonic (Lummi).[4]

Woody stems are fashioned into pipe stems (Hesquiat).[4]


  1. ^ a b c Flora Americae Septentrionalis; or, a Systematic Arrangement and Description of the Plants of North America 2:731. 1813-1814 GRIN (March 8, 2010). "Ribes laxiflorum information from NPGS/GRIN". Taxonomy for Plants. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 state-level distribution map
  3. ^ a b Flora of North America, Ribes laxiflorum Pursh, 1813. Trailing black or spreading currant
  4. ^ a b c d Dan Moerman. "Search for Ribes laxiflorum". Native American Ethnobotany Database. Dearborn, Michigan: University of Michigan. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 

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