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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 200. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/18/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted

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1. Ribes L. (gooseberry, currant)

Plants shrubs. Stems erect to spreading, often armed with stiff internodal bristles (slender prickles) and slender straight to slightly curved nodal spines. Leaves alternate, often appearing fascicled at the tips of short shoots, the petiole often with a somewhat expanded base. Stipules absent. Leaf blades simple, 3- or 5-lobed, palmately veined, glabrous to densely pubescent. Inflorescences mostly axillary, small clusters (these sometimes appearing umbellate) or racemes, the short to long flower stalks with a minute glandular or herbaceous bract toward the midpoint. Flowers usually perfect, actinomorphic, epigynous, sometimes fragrant. Hypanthium bell-shaped to cylindrical. Sepals (4)5, shorter or longer than the hypanthium tube. Petals 5, shorter than the sepals and often shorter than the stamens. Stamens 5, short, alternating with the petals, attached to the hypanthium, the anthers attached toward their midpoint. Pistil 1 per flower, of 2 fused carpels. Ovary inferior, not grooved, glabrous to bristly, with 1 locule, with few to many ovules, the placentation parietal. Style 1, sometimes 2-lobed, elongating during flowering, the stigma(s) capitate. Fruits berries, globose, smooth or with bristly prickles, the veins of the outer layer sometimes appearing as stripes. Seeds few to numerous, small, angular, with a gelatinous aril and hard seed coat. About 150 species, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa.

Ribes is sometimes divided into two genera, Ribes L. (the currants, with jointed flower stalks) and Grossularia Mill. (the gooseberries, with unjointed flower stalks), but this division has been shown to be oversimplified and unnatural (Spongberg, 1972; Sinnot, 1985). The fruits are eaten by a wide variety of animals. Seed dispersal is probably mostly by birds. The berries gathered from wild plants of some species were an important food source for Native Americans and early settlers. Numerous cultivated strains of currants and gooseberries have been developed by plant breeders. However, in the past many wild species of Ribes were the subject of eradication programs, particularly in the northeastern United States. This was in an attempt to control the spread of pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola J.R. Fischer), an important disease of the commerically important white pine (Pinus strobus L.) and related 5-needle pines that utilizes species of Ribes as a host for part of its life cycle.

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