Red Flowering Currant

Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Ribes sanguineum var. sanguineum

Red flowering currant is native to western coastal North America from central British Columbia to central California. It is a deciduous shrub growing to 4 m tall. The bark is dark brownish-grey with prominent paler brown lenticels. The leaves are 2-7 cm long and broad, with five palmate lobes; when young in spring, they have a strong resinous scent. The early spring flowers emerge at the same time as the leaves, on racemes 3-7 cm long with 5-30 flowers. Each flower is 5-10 mm diameter, with five red or pink petals. The fruit is dark purple oval berry 1 cm long, edible but bland.

Cultivation and uses

Red-flowering currant is a popular garden shrub, grown for its brightly colored and scented flowers in early spring. It was introduced into cultivation by David Douglas, and numerous cultivars have been selected with flowers ranging from white to dark red. While cultivars are genetic clones often selected for aesthetic value, open-pollinated, “straight native” plants grown from seed are likely to have the greatest benefit for wildlife.

  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Fire-resistant: Yes
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 4-10ft
  • Mature Width:3-10ft