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Golden Currant
Ribes aureum var. aureum
About Golden Currant (Ribes aureum var. aureum) Nurseries Show All Photos One of two recognized varieties of the species Ribes aureum, all known by the common name Golden Currant, it is a small to medium-sized deciduous shrub 6-10 feet tall. It is native to the inland mountains of California, primarily the Sierras. It tends to have a more upright form than Ribes aureum var gracillimum. It blooms in spring with racemes of conspicuous golden yellow flowers that gradually turn red. Flowers often have a fragrance similar to that of cloves or vanilla. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Leaves are green, shaped similarly to gooseberry leaves, and turn 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. This plant is recommended for higher elevation gardens.
Plant Description
Plant Type

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

Max. Width
6 ft (1.8 m)

Fragrant - Pleasant

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Yellow, Red

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Moister areas, canyon bottoms, near creeks, typically in mountains between 2500 and 7800 ft.

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
1930' - 8247'

Annual Precip. ?
5.8" - 40.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.51" - 2.63"

Coldest Month ?
24.5° F - 43.7° F

Hottest Month ?
54.9° F - 72.9° F

Humidity ?
1.08 vpd - 25.93 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of a variety of soils as long as adequate moisture is available

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -20° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6*, 7*, 8*, 9*, 10*, 11, 12, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Wildlife Attracted
Birds are attracted to the berries

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
Seed or cuttings

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

Nursery Availability
Rarely 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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