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Ribes nigrum - L.

Common Name Blackcurrant, European black currant
Family Grossulariaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Hedges and woodlands, often by streams[9, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to France, Bulgaria, N. and C. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Ribes nigrum Blackcurrant, European black currant


Ribes nigrum Blackcurrant, European black currant

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Ribes nigrum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from March to November, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; North Wall. By. East Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves
Edible Uses: Tea

Fruit - raw or cooked. An excellent aromatic flavour[K]. The fully ripe fruit is very acceptable raw, though it is more often cooked and used to make pies, jams etc[1, 2, 5, 9, 34]. Very rich in vitamin C[244]. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter[200], though selected cultivars have larger fruits[K]. The leaves are used in soups[183]. The dried leaves are a tea substitute[74, 177, 183]. They are sometimes added to blended herb teas[238].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidiarrhoeal  Antirheumatic  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Febrifuge  Miscellany

Blackcurrant fruits are a good source of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C. They have diuretic and diaphoretic actions, help to increase bodily resistance to infections and are a valuable remedy for treating colds and flu[4, 254]. The juice, especially when fresh or vacuum-sealed, helps to stem diarrhoea and calms indigestion[4, 254]. The leaves are cleansing, diaphoretic and diuretic[4, 9]. By encouraging the elimination of fluids they help to reduce blood volume and thereby lower blood pressure[254]. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, rheumatic pain and whooping cough, and can also be used externally on slow-healing cuts and abscesses[9].It can be used as a gargle for sore throats and mouth ulcers[254]. The leaves are harvested during the growing season and can be used fresh or dried[238]. It is believed that an infusion of the leaves increases the secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands, and thus stimulates the activity of the sympathetic nervous system[254]. This action may prove useful in the treatment of stress-related conditions[254]. An infusion of the young roots is useful in the treatment of eruptive fevers[4]. A decoction of the bark has been found of use in the treatment of calculus, dropsy and haemorrhoidal tumours[4]. The seed is a source of gamma-linolenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid which assists the production of hormone-like substances[238]. This process is commonly blocked in the body, causing disorders that affect the uterine muscles, nervous system and metabolism[238]. We have no records of the oil from this species being used medicinally, though it is used in cosmetic preparations[238, K].

References

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Other Uses

Cosmetic  Dye  Miscellany  Preservative

The oil from the seed is added to skin preparations and cosmetics. It is often combined with vitamin E to prevent oxidation[238]. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves[100]. A blue or violet dye is obtained from the fruit[100]. The leaves are used for vegetable preservation[74]. No more details.

Special Uses

Food Forest

References

Cultivation details

Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality[11, 200]. Best grown on a deep sandy loam[1]. Dislikes very heavy clay, chalky soils and thin dry soils, but it can succeed on most soil types if plenty of organic matter is incorporated[1]. Plants require plenty of nitrogen if they are to do well[200]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.7 to 7 and is intolerant of acid soils[200]. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position[11]. Plants fruit less freely when grown in windy sites[200]. The plant is hardy to about -20°c, though flowers are damaged at -1°c[200]. Blackcurrants are widely cultivated in temperate areas for their edible fruit, there are many named varieties[183, 200]. Most fruit is produced on one year old wood. Pruning usually consists of removing about a third of all the stems from just above ground level in the autumn. The oldest stems with least new growth are removed since these will be the poorest fruiters. The plant is able to make new growth from the base of the removed stems and, if the plants are well fed, this growth is very vigorous and will fruit heavily the following year. The flowers can self-fertilize but many cultivars fruit better with insect pollination[200]. Plants can harbour a stage of 'white pine blister rust', so they should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees[155]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is multistemmed with multiple stems from the crown [1-2]. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is branching: a heart root, dividing from the crown into several primary roots going down and out. The root pattern is suckering with new plants from underground runners away from the plant [2-1].

References

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification at between 0 and 5°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible[113, 164]. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year's growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors[78, 200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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123

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

1117200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Ibrahim   Mon Nov 24 2008

i would like to have information about the storage and processing of the Ribes nigrum thanks Ibrahim

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