Northern Ontario Plant Database
Ribes triste Pall.
En: swamp red currant, wild red currant
Grossulariaceae (Currant Family)
General: A deciduous spreading to erect shrub to 1 m tall; young branches grayish-brown, slightly pubescent, older stems purplish, smooth (glabrous), often rooting at nodes. For more information, see the genus description of Ribes.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, petiolate; petioles to 6 cm long, long, bearing a few soft hairs along the petiole. Leaf blade to 10 cm long, palmately divided into 3-5 shallow, triangular lobes, glabrous to minutely pubescent above, paler and pubescent beneath; base shallowly cordate to nearly truncate; apex of lobes pointed (acute); margins serrate.
Flowers: Bisexual, borne in loose drooping clusters (racemes) 4-10 cm long; pedicels, slender, somewhat glandular-hairy. Attached to the margins of the open, saucer-shaped hypanthium are 5 petal-like calyx lobes, which are greenish-purple to salmon-coloured; petals 5, deep salmon-coloured to purplish, smaller than and alternating with the sepals; stamens 5, opposite the sepals; the compound, inferior ovary is topped by a nectariferous disc and 2 styles. The ovaries are glabrous. Flowering from May to June.
Fruit: A red berry, 6-9 mm across, glabrous, edible, but tart. Fruiting racemes drooping, fruits ripen in July to August.
Habitat and Range: Cool moist to wet woods, swamps, bogs, and streambanks. Ribes triste is distributed throughout boreal and north temperate North America; its range extends throughout Ontario.
Internet Links: The Ribes triste webpage from the Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium website.
The Ribes triste webpage from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture website.
Similar Species: The two most similar currant species are Ribes glandulosum (skunk currant) and Ribes hudsonianum (northern black currant). R. glandulosum can be distinguished by its skunk-like odour, ascending racemes, and glandular-hairs that cover the ovaries and red berries. R. hudsonianum can be distinguished easily by its smooth black berries, and resinous dots on the lower surface of the leaf blade.
– written by Derek Goertz
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