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Common Shrub Species of the Northwest Forest

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Ribes americanum
Wild Black Currant
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)

Wild Black Currant Description

General - low shrub, usually 90-120 cm tall, sometimes taller, stems erect, without spines; outer layer of bark often peels off to expose inner yellowish red layer; branchlets greyish, finely hairy, more or less angled (ridged); older branches hairless; reddish to black.

Leaves - alternate, simple, nearly circular in outline, 3-8 cm long, slightly wider, sharply 3-5 lobed; broadly wedge-shaped to shallowly heart-shaped at base; dark green above with scattered resinous dots; paler, somewhat hairy, many resinous dots below; edges coarsely double-toothed.

Flowers - in drooping, many-flowered clusters; perfect, creamy white to yellowish, bell-shaped, about 9 mm long; bracts are longer than flower stalks, remain on plant; appearing late May to early June.

Fruit - black berries, without glands or bristles, 6-10 mm across, in drooping clusters, edible.

Habitat

Moist soil along streams and in woods; across prairie provinces in parkland and southern NW Ontario boreal forest, north to about 56 degrees N.



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