Grossularia glandulososetosa Opiz
Grossularia hirsuta Mill.
Grossularia intermedia Opiz
Grossularia pubescens Opiz
Grossularia reclinata (L.) Mill.
Grossularia spinosa (Lam.) Rupr.
Grossularia uva Scop.
Grossularia uva-crispa (L.) Mill.
Grossularia vulgaris Spach
Oxyacanthus sativus Chevall.
Oxyacanthus uva-crispa (L.) Chevall.
Ribes aculeatum Salisb.
Ribes caucasicum Adams ex Schult.
Ribes crispum Dulac
Ribes dubium Jacques
Ribes grossularia L.
Ribes grossularium St.-Lag.
Ribes hybridum Besser
Ribes reclinatum L.
Ribes spinosum Lam.
Common Name: Gooseberry
Ribes uva-crispa is an erect, spiny, deciduous shrub; it can grow 100 - 150cm tall[
The gooseberry is often cultivated for its acid but aromatic fruits, mainly in the cool temperate regions of Europe, but also in other temperate regions of the world[
]. It also has a range of medicinal uses and can be grown as a hedge.
The fresh leaves contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide, though details of quantities are not given[
]. 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.
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, Italy and the Caucasus.
Woods and hedges, often by streams[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Ribes uva-crispa is very cold tolerant - dormant plants are hardy to at least -20°c[
]. The flowers and young fruits, however, are susceptible to frost damage. Plants grow best in cool moist climates such as N. Europe[
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality[
]. Growth is often poor in light soils, whilst heavy soils encourage soft growth and excess vigour[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 6.5[
], though it can grow well in more acid or alkaline soils[
]. It is important to add plenty of humus to chalky soil[
]. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position[
]. They can be grown against east or north facing walls[
]. The fruit of plants on north facing walls will ripen later, thus extending the fruiting season, though yields will be lower[
]. Plants dislike very hot weather[
Plants are very susceptible to potash deficiency[
], especially when grown on alkaline soils[
Gooseberries are commonly cultivated in temperate regions for their edible fruit, there are many named varieties[
]. They were first mentioned as a fruit crop in the 16th century, having probably been first selected for this purpose in monasteries[
Birds love the fruit and so some protection is often required, especially if the fruit is being grown to full ripeness[
Plants fruit best on one and two year old wood so any pruning should be to encourage vigorous new shoots[
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[
]. 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[
]. The fruit of the wild species is often less than 10mm in diameter, but named cultivars have considerably larger fruits up to 30mm in diameter[
Leaves- raw. The young and tender leaves can be eaten in salads[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
The fruit is laxative[
]. Stewed unripe gooseberries are used as a spring tonic to cleanse the system[
The leaves have been used in the treatment of gravel[
]. An infusion taken before the monthly periods is said to be a useful tonic for growing girls[
The leaves contain tannin and have been used as an astringent to treat dysentery and wounds[
The plant was probably initially cultivated as a protective hedge because of the spiny twigs[
The fruit pulp is used cosmetically in face-masks for its cleansing effect on greasy skins[
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[
]. 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[