Page author: David Giblin
Ribes triste
American red currant, swamp red currant, wild red currant

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to Oregon, east to the northern Great Plains, Great Lakes region, and northeastern North America.

Habitat: Moist woods and rocky slopes at middle to high elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: April-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, bees, hummingbirds


Unarmed, decumbent and nodally rooting to spreading shrub up to 1 m. tall, the branches straw-colored to purplish-brown.


Leaves alternate, long-petiolate, the blades broadly cordate, up to 10 cm. broad, glabrous above and hairy beneath, palmately 3-5 lobes less than half their length, the segments broadly triangular to ovate-triangular, coarsely dentate.


Inflorescence of drooping, 6- to 13-flowered, short racemes, shorter than the leaves; pedicels up to 4 mm. long, jointed; calyx glabrous, dark reddish-purple or greenish-white and purple-spotted; calyx tube saucer-shaped, 1 mm. long, lined with a 5-lobed, reddish-purple disk, the 5 lobes broadly rhombic with a wedge-shaped base, 2 mm. long and broad, spreading; petals 5, broadly wedge-shaped, 1 mm. long, reddish-purple; stamens 5, equaling the petals, ovary inferior, smooth and glabrous.


Berry ovoid, less than 1 cm. long, bright red and smooth.

Accepted Name:
Ribes triste Pall.
Publication: Nova Acta Acad. Sci. Imp. Petrop. Hist. Acad. 10: 378. 1797.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Ribes rubrum L. var. alaskanum (A. Berger) B. Boivin
Ribes rubrum L. var. propinquum (Turcz.) Trautv. & C.A. Mey.
Ribes triste Pall. var. albinervium (Michx.) Fernald
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Ribes triste in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Ribes triste checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Ribes triste information.

E-Flora BC: Ribes triste atlas page.

CalPhotos: Ribes triste photos.

USDA Plants: Ribes triste information.

11 photographs:
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