Ribes californicum

Alexis is the author of today’s entry.

Damon Tighe@Flickr took this picture of Ribes californicum or hillside gooseberry at Kennedy Grove East Bay Regional Park in California. Thank you, Damon! Seen here are the bristly berries, foliage, and nodal spines of the plant. Ribes includes around 120-150 shrubs, with 30 species native to California, and is the only genus within the Grossulariaceae. Gooseberries and currants both belong to this genus.

Ribes californicum is a shrub that grows to 1m tall and is endemic to the Californian coast where it grows in woodlands and chapparal below 1000m. Two varieties are recognized: Ribes californicum var. californicum of northern California and Ribes californicum var. hesperium of southern California. The individual pictured is likely of the first variety because the leaves appear hairless; only the southern variety has hairy leaves. In the northern portion of its range, the species likely hybridizes with Ribes menziesii, the canyon gooseberry. Stuart and Sawyer’s Trees and Shrubs of California (2001) served as a reference for today’s entry.

Ribes californicum

4 responses to “Ribes californicum”

  1. Eric in SF

    And the same species in flower, photographed along San Antonio Valley Road/CA130, Santa Clara County, California

  2. Irma in Sweden

    Oh yes now is the time to make a gooseberry pie and also marmelade. YUM

  3. Eric Simpson

    I’ve often seen various beautiful Ribes species along the trails when hiking in NorCal. Unfortunately for my habit of snacking on things I find on the trail, many Ribes fruits – though edible – are scary-looking, like today’s example. I tend to stick to Rubus and Vaccinium.

  4. Eleanor Ryan

    All species of Ribes are host plants for Comma butterflies caterpillars. I am glad to see a CA species. Commas winter over in tree bark and emerge as adults in the early spring when the Ribes bloom.

Leave a Reply