Red currant

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Red currant
Red currant.jpg

Red currant ( Ribes rubrum )

Nuclear eudicotyledons
Order : Saxifragales (Saxifragales)
Family : Gooseberry Family (Grossulariaceae)
Genre : Currants ( ribes )
Type : Red currant
Scientific name
Ribes rubrum
Close up of a flower

The red currant ( Ribes rubrum ) or garden currant , also called red currant in Austria and South Tyrol , is a species of the currant genus ( Ribes ) in the gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae).

The white currant, which is often horticultural differentiated from the red currant, is only one color variant of the red currant.


Vegetative characteristics

The red currant is an upright, deciduous shrub without thorns that reaches heights of 1 to 2 meters. The bark of young twigs is lightly hairy and covered with glands. The bark of older branches is reddish-brown to gray-black. The egg-shaped buds have loose bud scales and are 5 to 7 mm in length.

The alternate leaves are simple. The leaf blade is round in shape and is 4 to 10 centimeters long and 3 to 7 centimeters wide. It is three- to five-lobed and heart-shaped at the base, the leaf lobes are blunt and roughly serrated at the edge. The underside of the leaf is hairy with short fluff when young , later glabrous. At 3 to 6 cm, the petiole is about as long as the leaf blade and just as pure green. The base of the petioles is usually bare or rarely covered with long, glandless hairs and individual sessile glands.

Generative characteristics

The flowering period extends from April to May. Four to eight flowers stand together in a racemose inflorescence with a bare inflorescence axis. The flower stalk is 3 to 5 mm long.

The hermaphrodite, five-fold flower has a diameter of 6 to 8 mm and is greenish-yellow or reddish in color. A pentagonal, raised ring is located inside the wheel-shaped spreading flower cup. The five fused sepals are bare, greenish or brownish-red in color, partly dotted red, spatulate and about twice as long as the petals. The calyx tube is 1 to 1.5 mm long and the upright calyx tips are 2 to 2.5 mm long. The five yellowish to purple-colored petals are 0.5 to 1 mm long. There is only one circle with five fertile stamens that are at least as long as the petals. The halves of the anthers are separated by the elongated stamen and easily spread apart. The stylus is also at least as long as the petals and is bilobed.

The smooth, mostly spherical berries have a diameter of 6 to 11 millimeters, are round, red or white, sometimes pink, translucent and contain numerous seeds . The calyx can still be clearly seen on the berry. The berries are edible, juicy and have a sour taste.

The number of chromosomes is n = 8.


The red currant is a nanophanerophyte .

In terms of flower biology, they are "nectar-bearing disc flowers". The pollination occurs particularly by hymenoptera . The red currant is attacked by the rust fungi Puccinia ribis with Telien and Cronartium ribicola with Uredien and Telien.


The red currant is widespread in almost all of Europe. It only occurs in the wild in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Poland, in the rest of Europe it is feral from culture. It is very rarely found in alluvial forests, ravines, bushes and along streams. It prefers wet, clayey soil and is a character species of the Ribeso-Fraxinetum from the Alno-Ulmion association.


There are two varieties:

  • Wild red currant ( Ribes rubrum L. var. Rubrum ): the wild family of garden currants. It forms creeping shoots, the leaves are often a bit shiny and wrinkled on the top and the berries are small.
  • Red garden currant ( Ribes rubrum var. Domesticum Wallr. ): It is the cultivated form. It is not uncommon for it to appear wild.

The spiked currant ( Ribes spicatum Robson in With. 1796) is a closely related species that is native to Northern Europe and Siberia; some taxonomists consider it a subspecies of Ribes rubrum . This species is involved in some cultivars of the red currant (crossed). It is very rarely overgrown.

Synonyms for Ribes rubrum L. are: Ribes scandicum Hedlund , Ribes sylvestre Syme .


The red currant has been in cultivation since the 15th century. Today's varieties go back to crossings with the rock currant ( Ribes petraeum ), the spiked currant ( Ribes spicatum ) and the tassel currant ( Ribes multiflorum ). They are sometimes grafted onto the golden currant ( Ribes aureum ) and thereby refined. Some of them are overgrown and naturalized.


The red currant is a popular garden plant because of its fruits. The fruits are often eaten raw or, for example, as jelly or juice, or as an important ingredient for red grits, in a variety of ways in the kitchen . In beekeeping , red currants are a valued sideline due to the high sugar content of their nectar (16–31%) and its high sugar value (up to 0.7 mg sugar / day per flower) .

White currant fruits ( Ribes rubrum alba ), a color variant of red currant

Red currant varieties

Red varieties

  • Jonkheer van Tets
  • Grape miracle

White varieties

  • Werdavia
  • White Versailles


Individual evidence

  1. a b red currant. In:
  2. Peter Zwetko: The rust mushrooms Austria. Supplement and host-parasite directory to the 2nd edition of the Catalogus Florae Austriae, III. Part, Book 1, Uredinales. (PDF; 1.8 MB).
  3. ^ Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . 8th edition. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 . Page 495.
  4. Helmut Horn, Cord Lüllmann: Das große Honigbuch , Kosmos, Stuttgart 3rd edition 2006, p. 30. ISBN 3-440-10838-4

Web links

Commons : Red currant ( Ribes rubrum )  - album with pictures, videos and audio files