Ribes petraeum is a variable complex and several forms have been treated as distinct species in the past. The current thinking is to treat the complex as one species with distinct forms recognized as varieties viz:-
Ribes petraeum var. altissimum (Turcz. ex Pojark.) Jancz. (syn Ribes altissimum Turcz. ex Pojark);
Ribes petraeum var. atropurpureum (C.A.Mey.) C.K.Schneid. (syn Ribes atropurpureum C.A.Mey.;
Ribes petraeum var. biebersteinii (Berland.) C.K.Schneid. (syn Ribes biebersteinii Berland.);
and Ribes petraeum var. carpathicum (Kit. Ex Schult.) C.K.Schneid. (syn Ribes carpathicum Kit. Ex Schult.)[
Grossularia petraea (Wulfen) Bubani
Ribes acerrimum Rochel ex Kit.
Ribes altissimum Turcz. ex Pojark
Ribes atropurpureum C.A.Mey.
Ribes biebersteinii Berland.
Ribes bullatum Otto & A.Dietr.
Ribes carpathicum Kit. Ex Schult.
Ribes caucasicum M.Bieb.
Common Name: Rock Red Currant
Ribes petraeum is an erect, deciduous shrub usually growing 150 - 200cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is occasionally introduced into gardens as a fruit crop, being more commonly cultivated in eastern Europe[
Eurasia - France and Spain, east through Ukraine and Turkey to southern Siberia, Mongolia, western China; N. Africa - Algeria
Mountains from C. Europe to the Pyrenees[
]. Grows in the mountainous forest zone under the canopy, in flood-lands and along brook beds; more common in areas covered by dark, coniferous forests; at elevations up to the tree line[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Ribes petraeum is very cold hardy, when dormant it can tolerate temperatures falling to around -20°c[
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality[
]. Plants are quite tolerant of shade, even heavy shade, though do not fruit so well in such a position[
This is one of the species from which the cultivated forms of red currants have been derived[
Crosses with the red currant (Ribes rubrum) gave rise to several old cultivars[
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 in tarts, jams, jellies etc[
]. A very acid flavour[
]. A red currant, the fruit is pleasantly tart when fully ripe[
]. Whilst many people will find it too tart to be eaten raw in quantity, it makes a very good cooked fruit in jams, preserves etc[
]. Its main drawback is the quantity of seeds in each fruit[
]. The purple, globose fruit is around 8 - 10mm in diameter[
The plant is used in breeding programmes for the red currant, adding traits such as frost resistance[
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[