NATIVE RANGE: North America
PATHWAYS: horticulture, silviculture
POSSIBLE TO DETECT: March – November
FLOWERING SEASON: April – May
DESCRIPTION: A small to middle-sized deciduous, spine-less shrub. Its leaves are 3- to 5-lobed with unbranched veins and a few coarse teeth near the tips of lobes. In autumn, leaves colour bright red. Flowers are yellow, tubular and borne in hanging, several cm long clusters which often emit a clove-like or vanilla-like scent. Fruits are hanging clusters of glossy, black (sometimes yellow to orange) round berries. The fruits are edible but astringent.
HABITAT: In its native range growing in forest edges, hedgerows and riparian habitats, sometimes also in montane meadows and deciduous forests.
STATUS: Locally naturalised throughout Europe. It is often cultivated for its edible fruits and autumn colours.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa), a European native which is often cultivated, has single to trifurcated spines at the nodes and white flowers. Fruits are over 1 cm wide, reddish to green berries. Alpine currant (R. alpinum) has greenish-yellow flowers and red berries. Leaves of Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) are less profoundly lobed, fruits are dark red pomes with visible remnants of the calyx, which contain nutlets.