Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Flowering Currants

Every gardener knows the currant, Ribes sanguineum, and if they are fortunate they will be growing the lovely variety 'Pulborough Scarlet'. There are some pale, wishy-washy varieties also in cultivation, but even these are attractive - both to humans and to bees. It is a native of western North America, introduced to Britain in 1826 by David Douglas (of Douglas Fir fame) but occasionally escapes to become semi-naturalised here in Britain. It has been recorded from Thoroughsale Wood, near Corby. 

Ribes sanguineum. My garden in Byfield
1 May, 2013
Other species of Ribes are cultivated for their flowers*. One of the more familiar is the Buffalo Currant, Ribes odoratum. As one would surmise from the specific name, the flowers are fragrant, with a clove scent. With its bright yellow flowers this species, also from North America, perhaps deserves to be more widely grown. One specimen does grow in Byfield, sprawling across a wall to overhanging the stream, creating an attractive feature.

Occasionally a leaf of Flowering Currant is found with a bright yellow raised area. This is caused by a fungus, Puccinia caricina. Gooseberries are commonly afflicted with swollen buds, generally called 'big bud' but so far the mites involved have not been recorded from Flowering Currant. Nevertheless, I'll keep an eye open.
Buffalo Currant, Ribes odoratum. Byfield 1 May, 2013

* Several Ribes species are cultivated for their fruit, including blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries.

No comments:

Post a Comment