Red Flowering Currant – Ribes Sanguieneum
The red flowering currant is a medium sized, deciduous shrub, growing up to 3m in height and is characterized by its pungent, sage-like fragrance. It can be found in dry, open woods and can be grown in full shade to full sun. This perennial has numerous small flowering spurs on multiple thornless stems; it can be identified by its dark green leaves with pale to bright-pink flowers that droop in clusters at the tips of the branches.
In the summer, black, waxy berries bloom and although edible, they are not very tasty. Despite this, First Nations peoples used the berries as food or dried them to use in tea.
Red flowering currants are pollinated by insects and hummingbirds and their berries are eaten by various birds and small mammals.
Other Uses: N
Soil: Well-draining, moderately fertile soil
Watering: Dry to moist
Sun: Full shade to full sun
Usually found at: Dry semi-open areas such as roadsides, Garry oak meadows, and forest edges
Pollinators & wildlife: Hummingbirds and butterflies
Ornamental: Bright pink flowers and sage-like scent
Leaves: The alternating leaves are 2-7 cm long with five palmate lobes. They have a dark green surface and its underside is a pale green with fine hairs.
Flowers: 3-7 cm elongated, drooping clusters of 10-20, with each individual flower 5-10 mm long. Varying from light to dark pink in colour.
Berries: The berries are dark blue in colour, with a very tart taste. They produce a waxy coating and bloom in mid to late summer.
First Nations uses: Berries can be used fresh or dried and were mainly used as feast food. Can also be used for herbal teas; bark can be used for cold and flu.