Native Shrubs ... in wildlife landscaping
West Virginia Native Plant Society
West Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program
Bristly Black Currant - Ribes laustre
Skunk Currant - R. glandulosum
Red (Swamp Red) Currant - R. triste
Wild (American) Black Currant - R. americanum
|Currants differ from gooseberries by having no thorns at the leaf base (Bristly Black Currant does have bristly stems).|
|Form:||Bristly Black - Dense
shrub to 5 feet tall.
Skunk - Stems sprawling, creeping or slightly ascending.
Red - To 3 feet tall, the arching or straggling branches often root where they touch the ground.
Wild Black - Upright shrub to 5 feet tall, dense.
|Bark and Twigs:||Bristly Black - Many
bristles about 1/4 inch long, reddish-brown, foul odor
Skunk - Thornless, pale brown, skunk-like odor when broken, buds green or purplish.
Red - Gray twigs, buds brown, thornless.
Wild Black - Thornless, ridges leading down twig from center of leaf scars.
|Leaves:||In general are deciduous, alternate,
simple and don't change color in fall.
Bristly Black - Smooth except for hairy leaf stalk (petiole), lobes deeply cut.
Skunk - Skunk-like odor if crushed, hairless, 5 to 7 deep lobes.
Red - Usually hairy beneath, 3 to 5 lobes, red leaf stalk.
Wild Black - Hairy beneath, 3 to 5 lobes, with resin dots on both surfaces.
|Flowers:||Bristly Black -
Drooping clusters, small green or purple (May-July).
Skunk - Erect clusters, white or pink (May-August).
Red - Drooping clusters, gray, pink to purple (April - July).
Wild Black - Drooping clusters, yellow or white (April -June).
|Fruit:||Bristly Black - Black,
bristly, foul smelling, bad taste
Skunk - Bright red, sticky, bristly not edible.
Red - Small, red, hard and smooth.
Wild Black - Black, smooth, with resin dots.
Compiled by: William N. Grafton, naturalist, botanist and wildlife specialist, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
Written by West Virginia Native Plant Society members and jointly published with the WV Nongame Program
Illustration from Flora of West Virginia, Strausbaugh and Core