Grossularia velutina (Greene) Coville & Britton
Ribes gooddingii M.Peck
Common Name: Desert Gooseberry
Ribes velutinum is a spiny, deciduous shrub with spreading, densely and intricately branched stems; it can grow 50 - 200cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Western N. America - Washington to Montana, south to California and Arizona
Sagebrush scrub, pinyon-juniper woodland, yellow pine forests; at elevations from 300 - 3,500 metres[
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[
]. This species is likely to require a very sunny position if grown in cool summer regions[
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[
The leaves of Ribes velutinum are thick and leathery[
Fruit - raw or cooked. Palatable[
]. The yellow, becoming purple or dark reddish, globose fruit is 4 - 9mm in diameter[
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[