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Comparison of Ribes species flowers

Posted on  currant jostaberry gooseberry flower

The ribes species includes red and black currants, gooseberries, jostaberries, worcesterberries and more. Now that it’s Spring, my garden is giving a beautiful example of just how similar the flowers of these different plants look.

Currants form a little differently from gooseberries and jostaberries. Instead of single flowers that will form single berries coming out at leaf nodes, they form a grouping called a “strig” that can contain up to 20 berries! They start tiny, about the size of a bud and look like tiny grapes as they form into flowers.

Red currant flower bud forming

Soon they grow away from the stem, and the strig elongates as individual flowers unwrap and form.

Red currant flower bud opening

Regardless of cultivar, the red currant mostly looks the same whether the berry itself is going to be red, pink, or translucent white.

Pink Champagne red currant flower

Here is a closeup of a flower from Pink Champagne.

Pink Champagne red currant flower closeup

Compare that to a black currant, like this flower from Slitsa. They are quite similar but have a lot of differences, too.

Slitsa black currant closeup

Here is a Jostaberry flower, which is a cross between a black currant and a gooseberry.

Jostaberry flower closeup

It’s pretty easy to see the relationship to gooseberry flowers. Here is Black Velvet:

Black Velvet gooseberry flower

And here is Hinnomaki Red for comparison.

Hinnomaki Red goosebery flower

Not all gooseberries have reddish petals. Here is Jeanne, a new release from the U.S. Agricultural Research Service in Corvallis, Oregon.

Jeanne goosebery flower closeup

And finally, here is a quick snapshot from my phone of a wild currant flowering during one of my walks.

Wild currant flower