Ribes montanum Phil.
Ribes nubigenum Phil.
Common Name: Zarzaparilla
Ribes cucullatum is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 100cm tall[
The plant is often harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It has some value as an ornamental[
S. America - central Chile
Coastal mountains, ascending almost to the timber line; at elevations from 500 - 2,100 metres[
]. Usually found in or by moist to wet locations such as marshes, bogs, water courses, lake and river shores[
Ribes cucullatum is a fairly hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures falling to around -15°c, perhaps even down to -20°c for short periods. In the south of its range it can be covered by snow for up to 8 months of the year[
]. It grows in areas with almost year-round rainfall - short dry periods are possible, though generally not lasting for longer than 1 month[
Prefers a position with some protection against direct sunlight, generally growing under vegetation that filters about 20 - 40 % of the light[
]. The plant grows in the wild in water or it has its roots growing close to a permanent water course[
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 ripe fruits are consumed fresh or made into jams and other preserves[
]. The fruits are a good source of micronutrients such as anthocyanins and vitamin C - they have a strong antioxidant activity and make an excellent addition to the diet[
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[