Botanical Name : Ribes glandulosum
Species: R. glandulosum
Synonyms: R. prostratum.
Common Names: Skunk Currant
Ribes glandulosum is native to N. America – Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin. It grows on wet woods and rocky slopes.
Ribes glandulosum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It has palmately lobed leaves with 5 or 7 deeply cut segments. Flowers are in elongated clusters of 6-15 pink flowers. Fruits are red and egg-shaped, sometimes palatable but sometimes not.
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It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position. Prefers a cool moist position. Hardy to about -20°c. Plants come into growth very early in the year. The branches are decumbent or spreading. Plants can harbour a stage of ‘white pine blister rust’, so they should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. The leaves have an unpleasant smell.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 4 – 5 months cold stratification at between 0 to 9°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year’s growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors.
Edible Uses: Tea.
Fruit – raw or cooked. A blackcurrant, it is juicy and palatable. Another report says that it has the odour of a skunk and the skin has short bristly hairs. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter. The stems have been used to make a bitter tea.
The Ojibwa people take a compound decoction of the root for back pain and for “female weakness.” The Cree people use a decoction of the stem, either by itself or mixed with wild red raspberry, to prevent clotting after birth. The Algonquin people use the berries as food.
Other Uses : Can be used as a ground cover plant
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