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Ribes menziesii (canyon gooseberry) is a species of currant found only in California and Oregon. There are five to six varieties of the species found across the low elevation mountains of California, especially the Coast Ranges, and the coastal canyons and foothills, into southern Oregon. It can be found in the chaparral plant community.

The canyon gooseberry is an aromatic deciduous shrub with very prickly branches growing up to two meters in height. It has somewhat rounded, hairy, glandular green leaves. Its showy hanging flowers have sepals which are reflexed, or folded backwards along the length of the flower. The sepals are fuchsia or purple. The petals are white and extend forward to form a loose tube from which the stamens emerge. The plant fruits purple gooseberries which are edible but are mainly seeds with little fruit. The plant’s spines also make collecting fruit unpleasant. The plant is sometimes used as an ornamental in areas of proper climate, such as coastal California, for its attractive spring blooms. The rest of the year, however, the plant is brown and less attractive so it is not in very great demand for garden displays.

Written on June 21st, 2012 , Forestry Tags:

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