Ribes meyeri Maxim. - Meyer's currant or black sour currant.
Taxonomic position.Family Grossulariaceae Hill, genus Ribes L.
Morphology and biology.Perennial plant. Shrub grows up to 1.5 m tall. Shoots are yellow, bare, glandular or slightly downy. Leaves on fruit-bearing shoots are 2.5-5 cm wide, on vegetative ones up to 6-7 cm wide, rounded, with heart-shaped or truncated base, 5-lobed, less frequently 3-lobed, with slightly dissected, blunted lobes. Leaves can be bare on both sides (f. glabrum Pojark.), densely pubescent on the underside (f. hirtum Pojark.), or covered by glandular hairs on both sides with glandular runners and petioles (f. glandulisum Pojark.). Racemes are short, 2-4 cm in length, dense, with 4-12 flowers. Pedicels are 1.5-2 mm long, pilose. Flowers are cube-shaped, brownish with purple spots and ribs, or dark, dirty purple. Berries are violet-black, 7-8 mm in diameter, sour. Blossoms in June; bears fruit in August. Entomophilous. Zoochore.
Distribution.Distributed throughout the Dzungarian-Kashgarian region (from the western part of Kuenlun Shan to Eastern Altai). Within the former USSR, the species occurs in the southwestern part of Altai and Middle Asia (Syr Darya, Pamir-Altai, Tien Shan).
Ecology.Occurs on mountainsides and in ravines in the middle mountain zone among the shrubs; sometimes occurs in the subalpine zone at elevations of up to 3,500 m.
Utilization and economic value.Distinguished for abundant fruiting habit and pleasant fruit flavor. Berries may be used in the same way as those of red currant. Warrants more extensive domestication.
References:Komarov V.L., ed. 1939. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 9. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House Acad. Sci. USSR, p. 241. (in Russian).
Poyarkova, A.I. 1936. Critical review of wild currant and gooseberry species in the Soviet Union. Flora and taxonomy of higher plants. Works of the Botanical Institute, series 1, issue 2. Moscow-Leningrad: AN SSSR, pp. 176. (in Russian).