Ribes alpinum
Common Name: Alpine currant
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Grossulariaceae
Native Range: Northern Europe to Russia
Zone: 2 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Greenish yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Heavy Shade

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade. Prune at any time of year (flowers are insignificant) or simply allow plant to grow naturally. Tolerates some drought. Extremely winter hardy.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ribes alpinum, commonly called alpine currant, is a compact, mound-forming shrub which grows 3-6' tall. Bright green leaves are 3-5 lobed, turning to a dull yellow in fall. Flowers are greenish-yellow and inconspicuous. Dioecious (separate male and female plants). Fruit on female plants is an inedible, scarlet berry. However, most plants of this species which are sold commercially are male clones (males are reportedly immune to rust diseases). Stems are chestnut brown and may exfoliate (peel) as they mature.

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

Specific epithet means of the alpine.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. In wet, humid conditions, anthracnose and leaf spot can be troublesome. Currant aphid, scale and currant bud mite are occasional insect pests. Although white pine blister rust is not a problem in Missouri, females of this species may be an alternate host for the disease and should not be planted in parts of the U.S. where the disease is prevalent (particularly in the East and Northwest). 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.

Garden Uses

Excellent hedge. Can also be massed in the shrub border.