Shrub to 2 m tall Leaves: alternate, stalked, 3 - 8 cm wide, palmately three- to five-lobed, egg-shaped to circular- kidney-shaped to reverse egg-shaped with a broadly tapering to flattened base, palmately veined, coarsely toothed, sometimes finely hairy beneath, with a marginal fringe of hairs. Inflorescence: a small, short, often nodding cluster (raceme) of five to ten flowers, subtended by leaf-like bracts. Bracts egg-shaped to oval. Flowers: golden yellow, fragrant. Stamens five. Styles two, divided. Sepals: forming a five-lobed tube (calyx). Calyx golden yellow, elongate-tubular with spreading to recurved lobes, tube much longer than lobes. Lobes 5 - 6.5 mm long, oblong to egg-shaped with a broadly rounded apex. Petals: five, in the throat of the calyx tube, becoming reddish, 2.5 - 3.5 mm long, alternate with calyx lobes, with an irregular, as if gnawed, upper margin. Fruit: a juicy berry, many-seeded, crowned by the shriveled calyx, black, to 1 cm long, spherical to ellipsoid. Branches: upright, without spines.
Similar species: Ribes odoratum is easily distinguished by its golden yellow flowers.
Flowering: late April to late May
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from farther west. A occasional escape from cultivation. Has been found on the sloping areas of railroads, along roads and fences, and in disturbed sandy soil.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: This ornamental is often cultivated for its clove-like fragrance.
Etymology: Ribes comes from the Arabic name for a shrub that has acidic fruit. Odoratum means fragrant.
Erect, unarmed shrub; lvs broadly cuneate to truncate at base, ciliate, finely puberulent to glabrate beneath, deeply 3(5)-lobed, the lobes entire in their lower half, often few-toothed above; fls fragrant, golden-yellow; hypanthium above the ovary tubular, 11-15 mm; sep oblong-ovate, 5-6.5 mm, broadly rounded above; pet 2.5-3.5 mm, erose above; fr black or rarely yellow; 2n=16. Cliffs and rocky hillsides; Minn. to Ark., w. and s. to S.D., Colo., and Tex.; widely cult. and often escaped farther e. Apr.-June.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.