150 species of flowering plants native throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is usually treated as the only genus in the family Grossulariaceae. Seven subgenera are recognized.
Sometimes Ribes is instead included in the family Saxifragaceae. A few taxonomists place the gooseberry species in a separate genus of Grossularia.
FoodRibes includes the currants, including the edible currants (blackcurrant, redcurrant and whitecurrant), gooseberries, and many ornamental plants. The Ribes currant should not be confused with the Zante currant grape. The Jostaberry is a gooseberry/blackcurrant hybrid.
Currants are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera-Butterfly species.
Photo by Solmaz Hafezi
MedicinalBlackfoot Indians used blackcurrant root (Ribes hudsonianum) for the treatment of kidney diseases and menstrual and menopausal problems. Cree Indians used the fruit of Ribes glandulosum as a fertility enhancer to assist women in becoming pregnant.
Currant root and seeds are high in gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA). GLA has been clinically verified as an effective treatment for pre-menstrual syndrome.
CultivationMany are grown as ornamental plants by the horticulture trade and used in conventional landscapes and native plant habitat gardens.
There are restrictions on growing some Ribes species in some U.S. states, as they are a host for White Pine Blister Rust.
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