Ribes hybrid (Ribes uva-crispa x R. nigrum)

Common Name: jostaberry 
Type: Fruit
Family: Grossulariaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Greenish yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers rich organic soils. Plant in a location protected from strong winter winds and frost pockets. Appreciates a summer mulch to help retain soil moisture. Annual prunings will maximize fruit yields. Self-fertile, but better cross-pollination may be achieved if different cultivars can be found and planted together.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hybrid crosses between black current (Ribes nigrum) and European gooseberry (R. uva-crispa) are often called jostaberries. They are deciduous shrubs that typically grow 3-4' tall (less frequently to 6'). Growth habit more closely resembles the black current parent, but larger, reddish purple fruit (1/2 to 3/4" diameter) more closely resembles the gooseberry parent in both size and taste.

The genus name Ribes is derived from the Arabic ribas, the name used for Rheum ribes (Syrian rhubarb), an unrelated, wild rhubarb species. European herbalists possibly connected the two due to the acidic flavor of the flowering stem of R. ribes, or the visually similar panicles of red fruits.


More pest free than its parents. Although jostaberry is reportedly not a host for white pine blister rust, it is still illegal to plant this hybrid in certain areas of the United States (particularly in the eastern United States) where bans on Ribes plants are in effect for the avowed purpose of protecting large stands of white pines from the disease. Contact your local Extension Service to verify if these plants can be grown in your area. Missouri has no restrictions on Ribes plants. Crops usually need to be protected from birds with netting or other enclosures.


Grow in a protected location in the fruit or vegetable garden. Can be grown as a hedge.