Ribes cereum Douglas var. cereum

Wax Currant
Grossulariaceae (Gooseberry Family)


Wax currant, aka squaw currant, is a compact but erect, many-branched, fragrant shrub that grows to about 4' tall.  The first thing one would probably notice that would distinguish this taxon is the absence of nodal spines, which is a feature that separates the gooseberries from the currants, although all are genus Ribes.  Then the cup- to tube-shaped hypanthium, non-yellow sepals, and red fruit identifies this as species cereum.  The radial flowers are greenish-white to pink with very small petals and sepals, the sepals generally spreading, the petals minute and rounded. The hypanthium is more than twice as long as wide, and the flowers typically occur in clusters of 3-7. Twigs are glandular pubescent, and the alternate, simple leaves are round to kidney-
shaped and pinnately 3- to 5-lobed, upper surface somewhat shining.  The fruit is a slightly glandular-hairy red berry about 1/4" in diameter.  Wax currant will usually be found on dry rocky montane to alpine slopes from 5000' to 11,000' in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mts and north, and the mountains of the east Mojave. It blooms from June to July.  These pictures were taken on the South Fork Meadows Trail and Fish Creek Trail in the San Bernardino Mts.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Ribes 2) cereum.
Pronunciation: RIE-bees SEER-ee-um.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


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