Gooseberry: A Prickly Beauty

Do you recognize the gooseberry which grows across our area? If you don’t, Cheryl Lisin of the Lost Coast Interpretive Association (like the Facebook page here and be delighted by beautiful photos showing up in your status) describes the flowering bush and provided these photos. She says,

unnamedSierra gooseberry, (Ribes roezlii) grows in mountainous regions of California; the variety pictured, (var. amictum) grows only in the North Coast ranges. It is distinguished from the species by the white peach fuzz on the outside of the flowers and the undersides of the leaves. In mid-winter, beautiful ballerina shaped flowers hang from the stems, turning into spiny gooseberries after pollination. Honeybees were working the flowers as I took these pictures. The shrub goes dormant in fall, making a wierdly beautiful tangle of yellowish stems and spines. This is a pretty shrub for the garden, but be careful of those stiff, sharp spines!

At first glance, gooseberry flowers resemble fuchsias in the way they hang from the stem. But, they are not related.  Gooseberries, along with currants are in the genus Ribes, in the Gooseberry family. There are about 50 species and varieties of Ribes that grow in California.

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