Native Shrubs ... in wildlife landscaping
West Virginia Native Plant Society
West Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program
|Gooseberry family - Small densely twiggy shrubs with rounded tops and spreading or aching branches. Sometimes prickly and stems with shredding, flaky bark. 1 to 3 thorns at the base of each leaf. Leaves deciduous, simple, 3 to 5 lobes and alternate.|
|Form:||Rounded shrubs with spreading or aching branches. Mature heights are 3 to 5 feet for Prickly, 7 feet for Missouri, 3 feet for Roundleaf and 3 feet for Smooth.|
|Thorns:||Prickly - Twigs gray to dark brown
with or without a few bristles between the thorns.
Missouri - Large thorns up to ½ to ¾ inch long.
Roundleaf - Short thorns to ¼ inch long.
Smooth - Short thorns of ¼ to 1/3 inch long and a few bristles on stems.
|Leaves:||Prickly - Soft hairy
Missouri - Smooth
Roundleaf - Smooth with rounded lobes.
Smooth - Smooth with pointed lobes.
|Flowers and Fruit:||Prickly - Flowers greenish
(May-June) fruit red-purple, covered with long spines
Missouri - Flowers whitish (April-May), fruit black, smooth (June-Sept.)
Roundleaf - Flowers green to purple (April-June), fruit smooth, tasty (June-Sept.)
Smooth - Flowers green to purple (April-July), fruit black, smooth, tasty (June-Sept.).
Gooseberries are alternate hosts for white pine blister rust and native plants are eradicated in areas where white pine is a commercial timber tree (primarily eastern West Virginia). Quarantine regulations prevent gooseberries from being planted in these areas of West Virginia.
Compiled by: William N. Grafton, naturalist, botanist and wildlife extension 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