Ribes spicatum Robson - Nordic currant.

Taxonomic position.

Family Grossulariaceae Hill; genus Ribes L.


Wild red currant, spiked currant.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial plant. Erect deciduous shrub, ranging from 0.5 m (at the seaside) to 2.0 m (at the forest edge) in height. Shade-enduring mesophyte propagated by seed; sometimes reported to produce soboles. Shrub shape is compact. Softwood shoots are green, often with various hues ranging from light pink to red or purple; hardwood ones vary from light grey to brown or light brown. Leaves have 3-5 blades, whose width exceeds their length. Leaf blades and stalks, young shoots and rachides are pubescent. Hairs are simple, unicellular, white; on the upper side of the leaf blade, hairs are sometimes bristly, while on the underside, the hairs are straight, sinuous or hamate; young shoots as well as leaf stalks at the bottom bear sparse glandular hairs. Flowers are saucer-shaped; hypanthium is green or yellowish green; sepals have pink veins and purple spots. Inflorescence is a relatively dense, polyanthous raceme, 3-5 cm long, erect at the time of flowering and drooping at the fruit-bearing phase. Berries are large, 6-10 mm in diameter, globular, sometimes oblate, red and dark red. Flowers in June; bears fruit in August. Entomophilous, monoecious, zoochore.


The range of the species extends from the British Isles through Scandinavia to the Russian Plain (except the south).


Occurs across the alluvial plains, in forests and at their edges, on mountainsides, and in brushwood.

Utilization and economic value.

Used for food and as a source of vitamins. Such traits as cold-resistance and good palatability make it very popular with breeders.


Fedorovsky, V.D. 2001. Ribes spicatum Robson - spiked currant (taxonomy, geography, variability, introduction). Kiev: Fitosotsiotsentr, p. 204.
Pavlova, N.M. 1936. Currant and gooseberry (Cultivated Flora of the USSR). Vol. XVI. Moscow/Leningrad, pp. 21-133.
Poyarkova, A.I. 1939. Genus Ribes L. (Flora of the USSR.). Vol. IX. Ed. V.L. Komarov. Moscow/Leningrad: USSR Academy of Sciences Publishers, p. 244.
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, USSR Academy of Sciences, series 1, issue 2, pp. 153-216.
Vulf, E.V. and Maleyeva, O.F. 1969. Worldwide resources of useful plants. Food, fodder, industrial, medicinal and others. Leningrad: Nauka, p. 178. (in Russian).

© T.N. Smekalova


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