Ribes alpestre is a spiny, much-branched deciduous shrub; it can grow 100 - 300cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is grown as an ornamental (especially the var giganteum), where it is used to produce tall, dense hedges.
Asia - Afghanistan, central and western China, Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Bhutan
Broad-leaved or coniferous forests, undergrowth of sparse forests on sunny slopes, forest margins, foothills, grasslands in ravines, river banks; at elevations from 1,000 - 3,900 metres[
]. Dry, open slopes in Nepal[
|Other Uses Rating
Species in this genus are generally easy to grow, preferring a position in sun (where they fruit best) or moderate shade and succeeding in most moist but well-drained soils of at least moderate fertility[
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[
]. It can be made into jams, jellies, sauces, soft drinks and wine[
]. The purple, globose to ellipsoid fruit is 12 - 15mm long and 10 - 12mm wide[
The plant (var giganteum) is planted for very dense and tall hedges[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification at 0 - 9°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, 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[