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Revision as of 19:29, 6 April 2019 by Moribund (Talk | Contributions) (Harvest)

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This article is about Ribes nigrum, a temperate climate berry bush commonly termed Blackcurrant (Black currant).

Note that Redcurrant and Whitecurrant are a different species called Ribes rubrum, discussed in a separate article (See; Currants).


Family: Grossulariaceae

Genus: Ribes

Species: R. nigrum

Blackcurrant is therefore closely related to Gooseberry (R. uva-crispa). Jostaberry is a hybrid between R. nigrum, R. uva-crispa and R. divaricatum.

Common Names

  • Garden black currant.[1]
  • European blackcurrant.[2]
  • Gazels / gazles.[2]
  • Quinsy berry.[2]
  • Squinancy berry.[2]


The word currant used to exclusively refer to the type of dried grape cultivar ("Black Corinth"). It was shortened from the phrase "raysyn of Curans" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French "reisin de Corauntz" or "raisins de Corinthe" (grapes of Corinth), referring to the Greek harbor of Corinth that was the primary source of export. Gradually, the name got corrupted into currant.[3] In circa 1570 the word was also applied to certain berry bushes of Northern Europe, and later applied to plants with similar fruit in America and Australia.[4]

Ribes (pronounced "RYE-bees") is Latin for "currant” (from Arabic rībās meaning "rhubarb"). Nigrum (pronounced "NIGH-grum") is Latin for "black, dark, sable, dusky."


Blackcurrants are very hardy and will thrive only in cool, temperate climates.[5] Their original range was Europe (excluding warmer mediterranean regions) and Northern and Central Asia.

Native to:

Altay, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, Central European Rus, Chita, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East European Russia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Irkutsk, Kazakhstan, Krasnoyarsk, Netherlands, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Tuva, Ukraine, West Siberia, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia.

Introduced into:

Austria, Connecticut, Falkland Is., Hungary, Illinois, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Magadan, Maine, Maryland, Masachusettes, Michigan, Minnesota, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Ontario, Primorye, Prince Edward I., Québec, Switzerland, Uzbekistan, Vermont, Wisconsin.

[Source= Plants of the World Online][6]


Deciduous, perennial shrub.[7] Mature height 1.5-2m.[7]



Growing blackcurrants is generally easy and not time consuming.[8]

This plant can perform excellently in a temperate climate forest garden (food forest) as part of the shrub layer.[9] Robert Hart considered blackcurrants (along with other Ribes spp. such as gooseberries, redcurrants and whitecurrants) to be the backbone of the shrub layer of the temperate climate forest garden.[10] Blackcurrants are interplanted with plums in the traditional agroforestry systems of south-western England.[10]

Space bushes about 1.5m apart.[8]


Soil Type

Soil pH

Shade Preference

Shade Tolerance





Mulch generously each spring (ideally well-rotted manure).[8] Use general purpose fertiliser (e.g. blood, fish and bone) in mid to late April.[8] In early summer use nitrogen rich feed (e.g. poultry manure pellets, 2-3 handfuls per plant).[8]




  • Birds -- consider protecting ripening fruit using nets.[8]
  • Big Bud -- caused by gall mites which occupy the buds, giving a rounded and fat appearnce of the buds (instead of long and slim). Occurs in spring before bud burst. Check plants in spring and cut off any affected buds and then burn the buds.[8]
  • Reversion -- disease also spread by gall mites. Causes unnatural foliage and reduced fruit crop.[8]


Usually blackcurrant plants are heavy yielding.[11] Fruit are ripe when they have swelled to maximum size and have a shiny, jet black appearance.[8] The longer the fruit are left on the plant the sweeter they get.[8] Whole trusses (trigs) or blackcurrants are removed from the branches to harvest.[8] Picking individual fruits off the trusses can be tedious.[8] One method is to hold the thick end of the stalk and pull the truss through the prongs of a dining fork.[8]


  • Fruits can be eaten raw.
  • Juiced. One blackcurrant juice recepie is to place trusses of blackcurrants into a pan with a little watter. When softened, mash and let juice drip through a mesh bag. Add sugar while still warm (or reduce the sugar by using sweet cicely leaves and stalks, e.g. 3-4 leaves per 450g of blackcurrants, removing leaves after cooking). Dilute with water to drink as a cordial, or add 1 spoonful to a glass of white or sparkling wine as a "Kir". The undiluted juice can also be used as a base for sauces. Keeps for 1 week if refidgerated, or frozen (e.g. in ice cube trays).[8]
  • Cooked to make sauces (very good with duck), crumbles.
  • Alcoholic drinks, see: Household Cyclopedia, Wines and Ciders (1881)
  • Jam.
  • Jelly.
  • Dye.
  • Blackcurrant seed oil contains vitamin E and is sometimes used in cosmetics.

Nutritional Values

Raw blackcurrants are 82% water, 15% carbohydrates, 1% protein and 0.4% fat (table). Per 100g serving providing 63 kilocalories, the raw fruit has high vitamin C content (218% of the Daily Value) and moderate levels of iron and manganese (12% Daily Value each). Blackcurrants are an excellent source of vitamin C, especially in cold, moist climates.[11] For more nutritional information see Wikipedia article on blackcurrant.W


External links