Ribes missouriense
Common Name: Missouri gooseberry 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Grossulariaceae
Native Range: United States
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Greenish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns

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 may flower and fruit poorly in too much shade. Plants are best sited in locations protected from strong winds and frost pockets. Water regularly as needed to keep soils uniformly moist. Avoid overhead watering however.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ribes missouriense, commonly called Missouri gooseberry or wild gooseberry, is a dense, rounded, deciduous shrub with upright-spreading to arching stems. It typically grows to 2-4’ tall and as wide, but may rise to as much as 6'. It is noted for having showy spring flowers, edible fruits, palmately lobed leaves and stout thorns. It is native to woods, woodland margins and fields from Connecticut to North Dakota south to Kansas, Arkansas and Tennessee. In Missouri it is typically found in dry rocky woods, thickets, woodland borders and grazed areas throughout the State except for the far southeastern region (Steyermark). Drooping, trumpet-shaped, greenish-white to white flowers bloom in spring (April-May). Flowers appear solitary or in small clusters of 2-3. This is a dioecious shrub that requires both male and female plants for fruit production. Pollinated female flowers give way to spherical, tart, juicy, green fruits (to 1/2" diameter) that ripen to purple in summer. Fruits may be eaten fresh off the plant or may be picked for use in juices, syrups, jellies, preserves and pies. Green, 3-5 lobed leaves (to 2" long) with some blunt marginal teeth may acquire attractive shades of reddish-brown to purple in fall. Thorns to 3/4" long.

Genus name comes from the Danish word ribs meaning red currant.

Specific epithet means of Missouri.

Problems

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). In wet, humid conditions, anthracnose, powdery mildew and fungal leaf spots can be troublesome. 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.