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Red currant (Ribes rubrum)

Red currant ( Ribes rubrum )

Class : Bedecktsamer (Magnoliopsida)
Nuclear eudicotyledons
Order : Saxifragales (Saxifragales)
Family : Gooseberry family
Genre : Currants
Scientific name of the  family
Scientific name of the  genus

The currants ( Ribes ), in Bavaria, Austria and South Tyrol the Ribisl (plural: Ribisln), in Baden-Württemberg Träuble , in Switzerland Meertrübeli , Trübeli or Ribiseli , are the only genus of plants in the gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae). It includes the types called currant and gooseberry in German . Some species and their varieties are as berries fruit , other than ornamental plants used.


Illustration of the alpine currant ( Ribes alpinum )

Vegetative characteristics

The Ribes species are mostly deciduous, rarely evergreen ( Ribes viburnifolium ) or almost evergreen ( Ribes speciosum ) shrubs that reach heights of 1 to 1.5 meters, or rarely small trees . Few species live as epiphytes . Usually short and long shoots are formed. Some of the species are armed with thorns. The buds have paper-like to herbaceous scales; in them the leaves are usually folded. The alternate and spiral or seldom several grouped leaves , arranged on the branches are divided into petioles and leaf blades. The leaf blade is simple ( Ribes speciosum , Ribes viburnifolium ), often three to five times lobed; in some species they have a distinctive odor. Stipules are usually missing.

Generative characteristics

Usually simple, racemose , almost sessile, umbellate or umbellate inflorescences are formed, in some species the inflorescence is reduced to one or a few flowers. There are two bracts under each flower .

Red currant inflorescence ( Ribes rubrum )

The flowers are hermaphroditic or unisexual; if the flowers are unisexual (for example Ribes diacanthum ), then the plants are dioeciously separated ( dioecious ). There is a free flower cup (hypanthium). There is only one circle with four or five fertile stamens . The radial symmetry flowers are four or five-fold in principle with double perianth . The four to five, mostly corolla-like, greenish, white, yellow, from pink to red to purple-colored sepals are fused with each other and with the base of the ovary . The calyx lobes are erect or bent back. There are four or five greenish, white, yellow, from pink to red to purple-colored petals present or they are absent in some species. There is only the outer circle with four to five fertile stamens . In functionally female flowers, the stamens are sterile. Two carpels are a mostly under-earth, rare half under continuous, einfächerigen ovary grown and contain many ovules . A gynoceum may be rudimentary in male flowers . The stylus is bilobed or even divided into two parts up to half of its length. A prominent, relatively thick, dark red, purple, or yellow discus is present, or it is prominent and greenish. Pollination occurs by insects ( entomophilia ). Long- and short-nosed bees and hummingbirds are the most common pollinators; the flowers of some species are visited by butterflies.

Black currant infructescence ( Ribes nigrum )
Seeds of Ribes aureum ( Ribes aureum )

The calyx is still preserved on the juicy berries , and they rarely contain only three to ten, usually ten to a hundred seeds. The brown to black seeds contain oil but no starch. The testa and the many endosperms are gelatinous. The straight embryo is cylindrical and tiny.

The basic chromosome number is x = 8.


The currants are colloquially or in dialect in Northern Germany Ahlbeere, regionally Goutberry, in Swabia Träuble, in the Palatinate and in South Hesse Kanstraube or Kantztrauwe or Gehonstraube, in Switzerland Trübeli or Meertrübeli. In Austria and Old Bavaria they are called currants (derived from the Latin ribes from the Italian word of the same name ). The genus name comes from the Arabic ribâs , a species of rhubarb that grows in Lebanon , which the medieval botanists changed to ribes . The name currant is derived from St. John's Day (June 24th), around which the first varieties ripen.

World production

In 2016 the world harvest was 655,000 tons. The country with the largest currant production in the world was Russia , which produced 52.7% of the world's harvest. Europe was responsible for about 97.5% of the world's harvest.

The ten largest currant producers in 2016 were:

Country of production Amount in t
RussiaRussia Russia 345.049
PolandPoland Poland 166.110
UkraineUkraine Ukraine 24,500
GermanyGermany Germany 13,992
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 11,353
New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand 10,733
DenmarkDenmark Denmark 9,890
HungaryHungary Hungary 3,056
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan Azerbaijan 2,805
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 1,867
world 655.030

Systematics and distribution

Subgenus Berisia section Berisia : Alpine currant ( Ribes alpinum )
Subgenus Berisia Section Hemibotrya : Ribes fasciculatum var. Chinense
Subgenus Grossularia Section Grossularia : flowers of the Oregon gooseberry ( Ribes divaricatum var. Divaricatum ) with sepals curved back
Subgenus Grossularia section Grossularia : fruits of the tender-flowered gooseberry ( Ribes leptanthum )
Subgenus Grossularia Section Grossularia : Gooseberry ( Ribes uva-crispa )
Subgenus Grossularioides : Marsh gooseberry ( Ribes lacustre )
Subgenus Ribes section Botrycarpum : Ribes bracteosum
Subgenus Ribes section Botrycarpum : Black currant ( Ribes nigrum )
Subgenus Ribes section Calobotrya : Ribes malvaceum var. Viridifolium
Subgenus Ribes section Calobotrya : blood currant ( Ribes sanguineum )
Subgenus Ribes Section Cerophyllum : Ribes cereum var. Cereum
Subgenus Ribes Section Heritiera : inflorescences of Ribes laxiflorum
Subgenus Ribes section Ribes : inflorescences of Ribes meyeri
Subgenus Ribes Section Ribes : Rock currant ( Ribes petraeum )
Subgenus Ribes section Symphocalyx : Gold-currant ( Ribes aureum )

The Grossulariaceae family was established in 1805 by Augustin-Pyrame de Candolle in Flore Française , Troisième Édition, 4 (2), p. 405. The type genus Grossularia Mill.  Was published in 1754 by Philip Miller in The Gardeners Dictionary ... Abridged ... , 4th edition with the type species Grossularia hirsuta Mill  . Some of the genera with capsule fruits that were incorporated into the Grossulariaceae by A. Cronquist in 1981 now form their own families: Itea as Iteaceae and Escallonia Mutis ex L.  f. as Escalloniaceae .

The generic name Ribes was first published in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum , 1, pp. 200-202. Type species is Ribes rubrum L. Synonyms for Ribes L. are: Botrycarpum A. Rich., Botryocarpium Spach , Calobotrya Spach , Cerophyllum Spach , Chrysobotrya Spach , Coreosma Spach , Grossularia Mill. , Liebichia Opiz , Rebis Spach , Ribesium Medik. , Rolsonia Rchb.

The genus Ribes is divided into sub-genera and sections, each with a selection of species:

The genus includes around 140 to 160 species worldwide. The main distribution area is the temperate climatic areas of the northern hemisphere , but there are also some species in the Andes . 59 species occur in China , 25 of them only there. 53 species occur in North America. In contrast, only a few species are native to South America.

Horticultural varieties:


White currant infructescence
White currants

Individual Ribes species are used as fruit bushes, ornamental plants and for the production of perfume:

  • The black currant flowers are used in perfume production.
  • In particular, varieties of the alpine currant, the gold currant and the blood currant are ornamental plants in parks and gardens, which are planted both individually and as a hedge.

further reading

  • Claude-Antoine Thory: monograph; ou, Histoire naturelle du genre groseillier: contenant la description, l'histoire, la culture et les usages de toutes les groseilles connues ... , Verlag P. Dufart, 1829: PDF at Google Books, Google Books Online.
  • LM Donoghue & MJ Donoghue: Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of Ribes (Grossulariaceae), with an emphasis on gooseberries (subg.Grossularia) , in Syst. Bot. 29, 2004, 77-96.


Individual evidence

  1. John Borg: Cultivation and diseases of fruit trees in the Maltese Islands. Govt. Printing Office, Malta 1922.
  2. DL Domondon, J. Poppe, LJLD van Griensven: Fruit optimization with wastes used for outdoor cultivation of king stropharia. In: Science and cultivation of edible fungi . Volume 2, 2000, pp. 909-918.
  3. Günther Drosdowski (Ed.): Duden "Etymologie": Dictionary of origin of the German language . 2nd edition, Dudenverlag, Mannheim 1989, ISBN 3-411-20907-0
  4. ^ Gustav Hegi: Illustrated flora of Central Europe . Volume IV, reprint. Parey, Berlin 1975, ISBN 3-489-70021-X , p. 43 f.
  5. a b FAOSTAT production statistics , accessed on January 25, 2018 .
  6. ^ Grossulariaceae in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  7. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd Ribes in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  8. Jaakko Jalas, Juha Suominen, Raino Lampinen, Arto Kurtto: Atlas florae europaeae . Volume 12 (Resedaceae to Platanaceae). P. 237, Helsinki 1999, ISBN 951-9108-12-2

Web links

Commons : Currants ( Ribes )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: currant  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations