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Golden Currant
Ribes aureum var. gracillimum
About Golden Currant (Ribes aureum var. gracillimum) Nurseries Show All Photos Ribes aureum var gracillimum, known by the common name Golden Currant, is a species of small to medium-sized deciduous shrub that grows 3-6 feet tall. It's native to the coast and foothill regions of California, growing most commonly in the southern foothills of the Transverse Range, and more rarely in the coastal ranges as far as the Mendocino National Forest. It blooms in spring with racemes of conspicuous 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 tasty, and attract a wide range of birds.

While Golden Currants are fairly drought tolerant once mature, they grow 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, they prefer full sun, and inland, part shade. They do best when surrounded by mulch, and grow well under oak trees and in mixed chaparral. When Golden Currants are thriving, they self-seed and spread out from the original plant and can serve as a groundcover.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3 - 6 ft (0.9 - 1.8 m)

Max. Width
3 - 6 ft (0.9 - 1.8 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate

Evergreen, Winter Deciduous

Bright green, three lobed

Flower Color

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, moister areas in oak woodlands, chaparral. Occasionally also found in drier settings such as sagebrush scrub, woodlands (oak, juniper, pine), or at higher elevations in fir or pine forest

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
24' - 4908'

Annual Precip. ?
9.9" - 51.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 1.20"

Coldest Month ?
31.9° F - 55.6° F

Hottest Month ?
63.0° F - 81.0° F

Humidity ?
0.59 vpd - 28.86 vpd

Soil Description

Soil PH
6 - 8

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -15 - 0° F

Sunset Zones ?
6*, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds, many other bird species, butterflies, other pollinators

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

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month, 2x/month, 3x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

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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