WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

With dainty bundles of showy, yellow flowers, sweet berries, and leafy branches, this 3–6-foot tall shrub makes a popular landscape specimen. Note the absence of thorns or prickles on the branches, hairless, oval leaves with 3 lobes, trumpet-shaped flowers, and hairless fruit.


FLOWERS: March–June. Clusters with up to 15 bright-yellow, tubular flowers, 1/4–3/8-inch long (6–10 mm), with 5 spreading petal-like sepals and 5 smaller erect petals; stamens as long as the petals. Fruit a round, hairless berry to 3/8-inch diameter (10 mm), red, orange, or purplish-black; edible, juicy, sweet.


LEAVES: Alternate. Blade broadly oval to wedge-shaped, 3/4–2-inches wide (2–5 cm), deeply dissected with 3 lobes, toothed or not; surfaces pale green, hairless with age. Leaves turn red to maroon in the fall.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly moist soils, riparian woodlands, stream sides with willows, roadsides; desert scrublands, sagebrush, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa woodlands.


ELEVATION: 4,200–8,200 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, UT, TX; widespread west of Mississippi River.


SIMILAR SPECIES: This species has 3 intergrading varieties and numerous cultivars in the nursery trade. Twelve species of Ribes in NM, 8 may have no stem spines or bristles, 5 of those with tubular, not cup-shaped flowers. Reliable ID relies on flowers and fruit. Only Golden Current has yellow flowers. Wax Current, R. cereum, in much the same range, has pinkish-white flowers, orange fruit with scattered hairs, and leaves with shallow lobes.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide, except se counties, in low- to mid-elevation, moist habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Dona Ana, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Taos, Torrance, Union.

GOLDEN  CURRANT

RIBES  AUREUM

Gooseberry or Current Family, Grossulariaceae

Perennial, deciduous shrub

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Branches without prickles or thorns (lower arrow).

Leaves alternate with 3 lobes (upper arrow).

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