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Golden Currant
Ribes aureum
About Golden Currant (Ribes aureum) Nurseries Show All Photos Known by the common names Golden Currant, Buffalo Currant, Clove Currant and Missouri Currant, it is a species of small to medium-sized deciduous shrubs 6-10 feet tall. It blooms in spring with golden yellow flowers, often with a pronounced fragrance similar to that of cloves or vanilla. The flowers attract hummingbirds and monarch butterflies. Leaves are green, shaped similarly to gooseberry leaves, turning red in autumn. The plant is deciduous from late December to early February. The shrub produces berries about half an inch in diameter from an early age. Ripe fruits, amber yellow to black in color, are edible, and attract a wide range of birds. There are two main varieties: Ribes aureum var aureum and Ribes var. gracillimum. Both are known by the common name of golden currant. Ribes aureum var aureum grows in high mountains where winter temperatures dip below zero degrees F, and tends to have an upright form. Ribes aureum var gracillimum grows in the coast and foothills, and tends to have a more sprawling form that works for groundcover applications.

The Golden currant grows best in areas with somewhat more ground water, such as the bottom of slopes, near creeks or canyon bottoms, or near irrigated areas. On the coast, it prefers full sun. Inland, it prefers part shade and does best when surrounded by mulch. It grows well under oak trees and in mixed chaparral. When it's thriving, it self-seeds and spreads out from the original plant and can serve as a groundcover.

Very easy to grow, and needs no special care once established.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
6 - 10 ft (1.8 - 3 m)

Max. Width
5 - 10 ft (1.5 - 3.0 m)

Upright, Fountain

Fragrant - Pleasant, Slight

Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Yellow, Cream

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Found in a variety of settings and habitats most often slope bottoms, creek sides, bottoms of slopes adjacent to wetland-riparian. Also found in drier settings such as sagebrush scrub, woodlands (oak, juniper, pine), or at higher elevations in fir or pine forest

Part Shade

Elevation ?
24' - 10095'

Annual Precip. ?
5.8" - 51.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 2.63"

Coldest Month ?
24.5° F - 55.6° F

Hottest Month ?
46.6° F - 81.0° F

Humidity ?
0.58 vpd - 28.86 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0 - 30° F

Companion Plants
Wildlife Attracted
Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers. A variety of birds are attracted to the fruits and seeds.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Low, Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
1x/month, 2x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Deep Organic, Organic with Rocks

Remove unwanted suckers to contain spread

Propagation ?
Seeds, cuttiings, layering or division (suckers).  For propagating by seed: 2.5-3 mos. stratification. Alternative treatments: moisten seeds with 0.2% KN03 and stratif y 2 wks.; or soak in 0.3% thiourea 40 mins., rinse under running water and sow (Stidham et al. 1980).

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant, Hummingbird Gardens, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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