Common Name: clove currant
Type: Deciduous shrub
Native Range: Central United States
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers humusy soils. Will spread by suckers to form clumps or colonies if suckers are not removed.
Clove currant is a Missouri native shrub which is most commonly found on limestone bluffs along the Current and White Rivers in southern Missouri. It is a thornless, loosely-branched, irregularly-shaped, deciduous shrub which grows 6-8' tall and spreads by suckers. Ovate to rounded, medium to bluish-green, 3-5 lobed leaves turn dull yellow in fall. Golden yellow flowers appear in racemes in spring and emit a strong, clove-like fragrance (hence the species name of odoratum). A dioecious shrub which requires both male and female plants for fruit production. Fruit is an edible, black berry which can be used in jellies, preserves and pies.
In wet, humid conditions, anthracnose and leaf spot can be serious problems. Also susceptible to blight, currant aphid, scale, and currant bud mite. Although white pine blister rust is not a problem in Missouri, this species is an alternate host for this disease and should not be planted in parts of the U.S. where the disease is prevalent (particularly in parts of the East and Northeast). Fourteen (14) states still maintain various types of bans on Ribes, the most restrictive being the total ban on all species in North Carolina. Missouri has no restrictions on Ribes plants.
Although this shrub can appear somewhat unkempt and ragged as it ages, the aromatic flowers, edible fruits and summer foliage provide good ornamental value and interest. Group in shrub borders or open woodland areas. Informal hedge or screen. Background plant for native plant gardens.