Ribes ciliatum is a sparsely branched, slender, deciduous shrub with arching branches; it usually grows 200 - 300cm tall, sometimes reaching 500cm in the wild[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
Southern N. America - central and southern Mexico; C. America - Guatemala, Costa Rica
Usually found in dense shade, growing in damp or moist thickets or forest, often in Pinus-Abies forest, sometimes on limestone in Juniperus forest; at elevations from 3,000 - 3,800 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Although native of tropical regions, Ribes ciliatum is only found there at high elevations and is fairly cold tolerant. It grows well at Kew Gardens in England (hardiness zone 7 - 8).
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality[
]. Requires a sunny position[
The plant often does not fruit very well, even in its native habitat[
]. This could be because the plant tends to be restricted to deeply shaded habitats in the wild[
The plant flowers freely every year in cultivation at Kew Gardens in England (hardiness zone 7 - 8)[
White pine blister rust, caused by the pathogen Cronartium ribicola, is a fungal disease that is native to Asia but has spread via human activity to many other regions, where it has become more virulent. It has a complex life-cycle that requires both currants (Ribes species) and white pines (Pinus species of the section Strobus) for the disease to spread. Whilst Ribes species can generally live with the disease (it has an annual life-cycle and infects the leaves only) Pinus species can be devastated by it (it becomes perennial and spreads through the tree). Young pines are far more susceptible than mature trees. In America the growing of certain Ribes species is banned in some areas in order to protect plantations of white pine species.
Plants in this genus tend to be notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. A sweet flavour[
]. The black, globose fruit is around 8mm in diameter[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 4 - 5 months cold stratification at between -2 to 0°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible[
]. 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, mid summer in a frame[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year's growth, late autumn to late winter in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors[