Ribes divaricatum 6622.JPG

This article discusses cultivation, uses and preservation of Ribes divaricatum. This plant can perform excellently in a temperate climate forest garden (food forest) as part of the shrub layer.[1]

Taxonomy[edit | edit source]

Family: Grossulariaceae

Genus: Ribes

Species: R. divaricatum

There are 3 synonyms:

  • Grossularia divaricata (Douglas) Coville and Britton.[2][3]
  • Grossularia irrigua S.Watson.[3]
  • Ribes suksdorfii A.Heller.[3]

Varieties[edit | edit source]

3 recognized.[2] Only latter 2 recognized by some.[3]

R. d. var. divaricatum - White petals. Found in Britich Columbia, Oregon, and Washington state.[2]

R. d. var. parishii - Also termed Ribes parishii, or Grossularia parishii,[2] common name "Parish's gooseberry ". Petals pink to red.[2] Last seen 1980, thought to be extinct due to dry years, altered stream flows, human‐caused fires, habitat loss, and invasive species.[4]

R. d. var. pubiflorum - White petals. Found in Oregon and California, USA.[2]

Common names[edit | edit source]

  • Spreading-branched gooseberry.[5]
  • Spreading gooseberry.[6]
  • Worcesterberry.[5]
  • North American Worcesterberry.[6]
  • Coast(al) Black Gooseberry.[6]
  • Straggly gooseberry.[6]
  • Coast Gooseberry.[7]
  • Wild Black Gooseberry.[7]
  • Wild Gooseberry.[8]
  • Oregon Stachelbeere.[7]
  • White-stem gooseberry.[9]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

From Latin divarico meaning "spread out"

Range[edit | edit source]

It is native to western North America, from British Columbia to California.[8] It has been introduced and is established in the wild in Norway,[3] and the UK.[10]

History[edit | edit source]

Some Native American groups of the Pacific Northwest foraged the berries.[8] The bark and other parts had medicinal uses.[8] The first published description of this species was by David Douglas in 1830.[11]

Morphology[edit | edit source]

Mature height approximately 1.7 - 3.4 m tall with a maximum spread of 1 - 1.5m.[8][1] Deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub.[1] The woody branches have 0 - 3 woody thorns at each leaf node.[8]

From the leaf nodes, Leaves are borne on 1 - 3cm long petioles and are palmate and edged with teeth, and are up to 6cm long.[8][2]

The flowers take the form of small, hanging flower clusters,[8] or single flowers each of 2 - 4 cm in length.[2] They are greenish - purple.[1] with long, protruding stamen resembling fushias.[8]

Fruit is purplish-black (when ripe), subglobose (nearly round), and glabrous (hairless). Each fruit is 6 - 12mm in diameter.[2]

Behaviour[edit | edit source]

Growth habit is of a shrub. It is perennial and deciduous, becoming dormant in winter but with persistent woody stems above ground.

Reproduction[edit | edit source]

Flowering occurs in April.[6] The plant is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs),[6] and is self-fertile (one plant will fruit by itself).[1] It is insect pollinated.[6] Seeds ripen between July to August.[6]

Hardiness[edit | edit source]

USDA Hardiness Zone 4 - 8.[6] Hardy to about -20°c

Soil Type[edit | edit source]

Tolerates most soil types.[1] Ideal soil type is moisture retentive but well-drained loam of at least moderate quality.[8]

Soil pH[edit | edit source]

Tolerance range is 4.8 - 8.2.[8]

Shade Preference[edit | edit source]

Full sun.[1] Full sun is best for good fruit cropping.[6]

Shade Tolerance[edit | edit source]

Tolerates moderate shade (approximately 20% shade / 1-2 hours of direct sun).[1]

Aspect[edit | edit source]

Exposure[edit | edit source]

Propagation[edit | edit source]

Hardwood cuttings (i.e. from fully matured stems) can be taken in late autumn (during dormancy).[1]

The shrub can send out suckers, which can be propagated by carefully digging out the root and cutting it from the main plant.

From seed, greatest chance of success is as soon as ripe in autumn, using a cold frame.[6]

Seed can remain viable for up to 17 years or more.[6] Stored seed will require 4 - 5 months of 0 - 9 °c cold stratification to germinate from dormancy.[6]

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

The plant is moderately easy to care for.[8]

Watering[edit | edit source]

Low water requirements.[8]

Pruning[edit | edit source]

May require pruning to keep from spreading.[1]

Problems[edit | edit source]

Can harbour a stage of white pine blister rust (do not grow near pines).[6] The genus Ribes is susceptible to honey fungus.[6]

Birds may eat the fruit.[6]

Harvest[edit | edit source]

Berries start green and turn black when ripe. Berries can be harvested before they are fully ripe assuming they will be cooked.[6] Berries can be left hanging on the bush until Autumn, but birds may eat them.[6]

Preservation[edit | edit source]

Once harvested, fruits will be edible for 1 - 2 weeks.[1] Fruits can be turned in to fruit leather but require thickening.[1]

Uses[edit | edit source]

  • Fruit - fruits are edible by humans
  • Hedging - large thorns can make this plant suitable in hedges to deter animals,[1] such as deer.[8]
  • Bee plant - attracts bees and other insect pollinators.[1]
  • Attracts other wildlife - e.g. butterflies and brids.[8]
  • Cultivation of crosses and hybrids - e.g. R. divaricatum was used in the creation of the "Jostaberry" plant.W
  • Graft stock for gooseberries and currants.[7]

Nutritional Values[edit | edit source]

Cooking[edit | edit source]

Fruit can be eaten raw or cooked.[6] Young leaves and unripe fruit can be used to make a sauce.[6] Can be used to make jams, pies, etc.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Authors Moribund
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 5 pages link here
Impact 540 page views
Created March 19, 2019 by Moribund
Modified June 9, 2023 by Felipe Schenone
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