Ribes aureum2Also known as clove currant and buffalo currant, this deciduous shrub is a native of North America from Saskatchewan to British Columbia, south to New Mexico and California where it grows in open woods, streambanks, desert washes, and pine flats. It is a member of the Grossulariaceae family and related to gooseberry. Stiff erect branches bear one to two inch long glossy leaves that are three lobed and light green turning reddish purple in the fall. The yellow-orange star-shaped flowers are produced in spring in pendulant clusters of five to fifteen flowers and are tubular, fragrant with a clove or vanilla like scent, and give way to black edible fruits that ripen in late summer and are attractive to birds. The fruits can be made into jams, jellies, pastries, and juices. Golden current is useful as a specimen, hedge, or screen but is an alternate host to white pine blister rust and should not be grown in areas with white pines.

Type: Deciduous flowering shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers, fruit, fall coloration

Form: Vase-shaped

Growth Rate: Moderate to rapid

Bloom: Yellow-orange star-shaped flowers in pendulant clusters of five to fifteen flowers and with clove or vanilla like scent, in spring

Size: 3-7’ H x 2-6’ W

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Humus rich, fertile, evenly moist, well-drained, neutral to alkaline; tolerates less

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Care: Prune to control suckers

Pests and Diseases: Generally healthy but susceptible to anthracnose, powdery mildew, fungal leaf spot, honey fungus, aphids, scale, bud mites, and fruit fly.

Propagation: Seeds, cuttings, layering

By Karen