Northern Ontario Plant Database
Ribes glandulosum Grauer
En: skunk currant, fetid currant
Grossulariaceae (Currant Family)
General: A deciduous straggly to erect shrub, to 1 m tall; branches brown to reddish-gray, smooth (glabrous). The leaves and stems emit a skunk-like odour when bruised or crushed. For more information, see the genus description of Ribes.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, petiolate; petioles to 5.5 cm long, bearing a few short hairs near the petiole base. Leaf blades to 8 cm long, palmately divided into 5-7 ovate lobes, glabrous above, paler and finely hairy (pubescent) beneath; base deeply cordate; apex of lobes pointed (acute); margins coarsely double-serrate.
Flowers: Bisexual, borne in loose ascending to erect clusters (racemes) 2.5-6 cm long. Attached to the margins of the open, saucer-shaped hypanthium are 5 petal-like calyx lobes, which are white to pinkish; petals 5, pale pink to purplish, much smaller than and alternating with the sepals; stamens 5, opposite the sepals; the compound, inferior ovary is topped by a greenish-yellow, nectariferous disc and 2 styles. The pedicels, bracts, and ovaries are covered with glandular hairs. Flowering from May to June.
Fruits: An transluscent red berry, to 6 mm across, covered with bristly glandular hairs, edible, but with an unpleasant taste. Fruiting racemes are ascending; fruits ripen in July to August.
Habitat and Range: Cool moist woods and clearings. Ribes glandulosum is distributed throughout boreal and temperate North America; its range extends throughout northern Ontario.
Other Internet Images: The Ribes glandulosum webpage from Camilla's Home Page.
An image of Ribes glandulosum flowers from A Digital Flora of Newfoundland and Labrador Vascular Plants.
Similar Species: The two most similar currant species are Ribes triste (swamp red currant) and Ribes hudsonianum (northern black currant). R. triste has leaf blades with 3-5 triangular lobes divided by shallow sinuses; its smooth red berries, arranged in drooping clusters, can also be used to distinguish it from skunk currant. R. hudsonianum can easily be distinguished by its erect racemes of smooth black berries and resinous dots on the lower surface of the leaf blade.
– written by Derek Goertz
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