Please donate to support our ‘Plants to Save the Planet’ Project. The Project is directed at enabling designers of ‘carbon farms’ and ‘food forests’: agroecosystems of perennial plants, to choose the most appropriate plants for their requirements and site conditions. We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. More >>>

Follow Us:


Ribes_uva-crispa - L.

Common Name Gooseberry, European gooseberry
Family Grossulariaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards The fresh leaves contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide, though details of quantities are not given[240]. This substance is found in several foods, including almonds. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Habitats Woods and hedges, often by streams[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, Italy and the Caucasus.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Ribes_uva-crispa Gooseberry, European gooseberry

Ribes_uva-crispa Gooseberry, European gooseberry


Translate this page:


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Ribes_uva-crispa is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from March to May, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. 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



Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[1, 2, 5, 7, 61]. The fruit is often picked when under-ripe and very firm, it has a very tart flavour at this time and is mainly used in making pies, jams etc. However, if the fruit is allowed to remain on the plant until it is fully ripe and soft it becomes quite sweet and is delicious for eating out of hand[K]. The fruit of the wild species is often less than 1cm in diameter, but named cultivars have considerably larger fruits up to 3cm in diameter[K]. Leaves- raw. The young and tender leaves can be eaten in salads[4]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

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.

The fruit is laxative[7]. Stewed unripe gooseberries are used as a spring tonic to cleanse the system[4]. The leaves have been used in the treatment of gravel[4]. An infusion taken before the monthly periods is said to be a useful tonic for growing girls[4]. The leaves contain tannin and have been used as an astringent to treat dysentery and wounds[7].

Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

The fruit pulp is used cosmetically in face-masks for its cleansing effect on greasy skins[7].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality[11, 200]. Growth is often poor in light soils, whilst heavy soils encourage soft growth and excess vigour[200]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 6.5[200], though it can grow well in more acid or alkaline soils[K]. It is important to add plenty of humus to chalky soil[K]. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position[11]. They can be grown against east or north facing walls[37]. The fruit of plants on north facing walls will ripen later, thus extending the fruiting season, though yields will be lower[K]. Plants dislike very hot weather[37]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -20°c[200], but the flowers and young fruits are susceptible to frost damage Plants are very susceptible to potash deficiency[1], especially when grown on alkaline soils[K]. Gooseberries are commonly cultivated in temperate regions for their edible fruit, there are many named varieties[183, 200]. Birds love the fruit and so some protection is often required, especially if the fruit is being grown to full ripeness[K]. Plants grow best in cool moist climates such as N. Europe[200]. Plants fruit best on one and two year old wood so any pruning should be to encourage vigorous new shoots[200]. Plants can harbour a stage of white pine blister rust, so should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees[155]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 9 through 2. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) 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]. The root pattern is suckering with new plants from underground runners away from the plant [1-2].

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


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

American gooseberry, Cu li, Egres, Fuge, Gigadze, Groseille a maquareau, Groseillier, Grosella blanca, Grosellero, Kikerberi, Kryhovnik, Maru suguri, Stachelbeere, Uva spina,

Found In

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

Africa, Algeria, Armenia, Asia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Balkans, Belarus, Bosnia, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Caucasus, China, Czech Republic, East Africa, Estonia, Europe, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Himalayas, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Africa, North America, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scandinavia, SE Asia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tasmania, Ukraine, USA, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe,

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 :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Ribes uva-crispaGooseberry, European gooseberryShrub1.2 4-8 MLMHSNM512


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

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

Readers comment

Dr. Tom Beatty,DD,BFHM   Wed Aug 26 2009

Why is Ribes Grossularia not documented on this site?

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Ribes_uva-crispa  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.