Ribes odoratum 'Crandall'
Common Name: clove currant
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Grossulariaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 7.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained clay or silt loams in full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun, but some part afternoon shade is appreciated in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Plants are best sited in locations protected from strong winds and frost pockets. Bare root bushes may be planted in fall. Apply a good compost mulch to the root zone. Water regularly as needed to keep soils uniformly moist. Avoid overhead watering however. Renewal prune in late winter to early spring each year. Younger branches generally produce the most fruit. If fruit production is a concern, older, weakened and/or damaged branches should be removed to open up the bush and promote more abundant fruiting. Plants may spread by root suckers to form clumps if suckers are not removed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ribes odoratum (clove currant) is native to the central U. S., including the State of Missouri where it is found on limestone bluffs along the Current and White Rivers. ‘Crandall’ is an old American clove currant variety that was first introduced in 1888. It is a thornless, loosely-branched, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 3-4’ tall, but may reach 7’ in height. It is grown today both for its attractive ornamental features (flowers, fruit and foliage) and for its tasty, edible fruit. Fruit looks like black current (Ribes nigrum), but is larger and somewhat milder in flavor. Clusters (racemes) of clove-scented, trumpet-shaped, yellow flowers bloom in spring. This is a dioecious shrub that requires both male and female plants for fruit production. Pollinated female flowers give way to large, oval-rounded, shiny black currants that ripen in late season (July in St. Louis). Fruits may be eaten fresh off the plant or may be picked for use in juices, syrups, jellies, preserves and pies. Blue-green, 3-5 lobed leaves may acquire attractive shades of reddish-brown in fall.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. In wet, humid conditions, anthracnose, powdery mildew and fungal leaf spots can be troublesome. ‘Crandall’ foliage is reportedly resistant to powdery mildew and white pine blister rust. Although white pine blister rust is not a problem in Missouri, this shrub is considered to be an alternate host for this disease and should not be planted in certain parts of the U. S. where the disease is prevalent (particularly in parts of the east and Northeast). Aphids, scale and bud mite are potential pests in some areas.

Garden Uses

Ornamental flowering shrub that produces edible fruit. Specimen or group near patios, in shrub borders or in open woodland areas.