Ribes uva-crispa L. - European gooseberry


Family Grossulariaceae DC., genus Ribes L.


Ribes grossularia L., Grossularia uva-crispa (L.) Mill., G. vulgaris Spach

Morphology and biology.

This is a shrub that grows up to 3 m tall. Branches have 2-3(4) separate thorns up to 2.4 cm long in nodes and with simple thorns in internodes. Types of this species differ according to echination of shoots. Leaves are 1-5 (6) cm wide, with 3-5 orbicular blades and a cordate base, which is dark, short and downy. Flowers are arranged in groups of 1-2 (3) in axils of leaves on short shoots of biennial and older bunches, drooped, greenish or red, pubescent, with 2-3 bracts; calyx is campaniform, petals are very small, greenish-whitish or reddish. Berries are spherical, oval, pear-shaped or lengthened in shape; green, yellow, white, pink, red-brown or black in color, with noticeable veins and dry perianth on the top; 13-15 mm diameter; from less than 2.5 g to more 7.5 g; with 15-50 seeds. Chromosome number: 2n=16.

Distribution and origin.

This species is found in the wild in all of Europe, the Caucasus, and Northern Africa. In Russia, it has been cultivated since the 11th century. Large plantations in the former USSR are found in the Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States, the Caucasus, in temperate zones of Russia (north to Karelia and the Archangelsk region); small plantations are found in Siberia, the Far East, and Middle Asia.


This species prefers temperate climates, has a negative reaction to long droughts, but is stable enough stable to withstand winds and hail. This species does not require high temperatures; in fact, it bears temperatures as low as -40 to -45°C, although it does suffer from spring frosts. Thermal burns of the berries can sometime occur as a result of high temperatures. This species demands much light but little moisture. It grows best in warm, moderately moist, non-shady places. It prefers loamy soil. This species grows well in soils of various textural compositions (from sandy to loamy soils) as long as there is sufficient organic fertilization. It does not like swampy places or areas with limestone and layers of lime marl superficially disposed from the surface. The most favorable soils for this species have a pH of 6.0-6.5. It is pollinated by bumble bees, bees and other insects. Almost all types are self-pollinated.

Economic value.

There are more than 1500 varieties in Russia, but 150 types are most often cultivated. Shrub fructifies in the 2nd-3rd year after planting and bears fruit for 30 years. Berries can be used at any stage of growth and maturity. Berries are highly nutritious, containing 8.2-17% sugar, 1.2-1.7% acid, 0.9% pectin, 10-82 mg/100 g vitamin C, carotene, B-vitamins and biologically active compounds (antozians and phlavans). Berries are used fresh for making jam, compote, and juice; juice is used as a natural dyestuff for confectioneries. Unripe berries are used for preserves. It is a Melliferous plant. In Russia it is cultivated on more than 8 thousands hectares, mainly on plantations, personal farms and collective gardens. Varieties of this species are distinguished according to taste for technical (for processing), table and dessert purposes. The best varieties include Russkiy, Smena, Malahit, Phinik, and Ledenez. The productivity of this species reaches 10-25 (up to 30) tons per hectare. It is propagated using vertical, horizontal and arched cuttings, by dividing the shrub, or by green and woody grafts. Reproduction by woody grafts is possible for small-fruit types only. Distance between shrubs is 1-1.5 m. Distance between lines of grafts is 50-70 cm, 12-15 cm between grafts in line. Pre-winter watering is necessary in dry autumns. The gooseberry can produce the greatest harvest among berry cultures according to high agrotechnics.

Reference citations:

Batalov V.V., Ignatev V.I. 2002. Berries cultures. Kucgesi. 144 p.
Belov V.F., Rjazanov A.N. 1983. Industrial horticulture in Nechernozemnaja zone. Moscow: Rosselhozizdat. 131 p.
Burmistrov A.D. 1985. Berry cultures. Leningrad: Agropromizdat. 272 p.
Efremova M.K., Lenskaja G.P. 1992. Catalogue (description of the sorts). Currant black, red, white, gooseberry. Moscow: Selskaja. 71 p.
Novoselova T.G. 2003. Berry shrubs. Rostov-na-Donu: Feniks. 256 p.
Popova I.V. 1985. Gooseberry. Moscow: Agropromizdat. 39 p.
Sergeeva K.D. 1989. Gooseberry. Moscow: Agropromizdat. 208 p.
Sokolov S.J., ed. 1954. Trees and shrubs of USSR. V. 3. Moscow, Leningrad: Nauka. 784-800 p.
Vehov V.N., Gubanov I.A., Lebedeva G.F. 1978. Cultural plants of the USSR. Moscow: Mysl.. 336 p.
Vitkovsky V.L. 2003. Fruit plants of the world. St. Petersburg, Moscow, Krasnodar: Lan. 592 p.
Volodina E.V. 1986. Gooseberry. Leningrad: Agropromizdat. 62 p.
Vulf E.V., ed. 1936. Culture flora of USSR. V. 16. Berries cultures. Moscow, Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo kolhoznoi i sovhoznoi literaturi. 285 p.
ZNTIPR Gosagroprom RSFSR. 1988. A high-grade division into districts of the fruit, berry cultures and hop-plant in RSFSR (catalogue). Moscow: ZNTIPR Gosagroprom RSFSR. 146 p.

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