Golden Currant
Ribes aureum Pursh
Family: Grossulariaceae, Currant
Genus: Ribes
Synonyms:
Other names:
Nomenclature: aureum = golden
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Edible plant
Medicinal plant
Description

General: erect or rounded shrub 1-3 m tall, without spines, the branches reddish and hairless to finely short-hairy when young, hairless and dark gray with age.

Leaves: alternate, finely short-hairy to hairless when young, but with age thick, pale green, and usually hairless except for few hairs on the edges, broadly triangular-ovate to ovate, with a broadly wedge-shaped to somewhat cordate base, 2-5 cm broad, mostly 3-lobed less than half their length, the segments entire or with 2-5 rounded teeth.

Flowers: fragrant, 5-18 in clusters equaling or longer than the leaves. Flower stalks up to 8 mm long, jointed under the ovary. Calyx hairless, golden yellow, cylindric, 6-8 mm long, the 5 calyx lobes oblong-elliptic, spreading, 5-7 mm long. The 5 petals yellow to orange or reddish, oblong-obovate, erect. The 5 stamens about equaling the petals, the filaments about equal to the anthers. Styles joined almost to the stigmas, hairless. April-May.

Fruits: berries, hairless, round, about 7 mm long, red to black, rarely yellow, palatable.


Distribution

Stream banks, flood plains in grasslands and sagebrush areas to ponderosa pine forest, in most parts of MT. Also from n.c. WA to CA, and from Sask. and SD to NM.
Edible Uses

The fruits of golden currant are edible raw or cooked. They make an acceptable dessert fruit and are also used in jellies, sauces and pies. The fruit can also be dried for winter use. They are said to be quite well-tasting. The flowers are edible raw and have a very sweet flavor. The plant was used for food by several native tribes.



Medicinal Uses

The plant was used medicinally for external use by the Shoshoni and Pailute Indians. The dried and pulverized inner bark has been sprinkled on sores. A decoction of the inner bark has been used in the treatment of leg swellings. The Kiowa Indians made a poultice of plant parts applied to snakebites.


Copyright © Montana.Plant-Life.org