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Plant Description


Ribes triste Pall.

En: swamp red currant, wild red currant
Fr: gadellier amer, gadellier rouge sauvage
Oj: miishijiiminagaawanzh, zhaaboomin

Grossulariaceae (Currant Family)

Click on thumbnail to see larger image.
Ribes tristeflpl Ribes tristelvs Ribes tristefrpl Ribes tristeill


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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