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Wax Currant
Grossulariaceae
Ribes cereum Douglas


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Shrub



Grossulariaceae Family

Ribes Genus
Other Names for this Plant

western red currant, Squaw currant


Location

Southwestern USA. most parts of MT. Also from B.C. through
OR and southward to s. CA, NE, CO, NM and AZ


Physical Description
Spreading or rounded to erect shrub, without spines, 0.5-1.5 m tall, the new branches finely short-hairy and often sparsely to copiously covered with short-stalked glands, turning grayish-brown or reddish-brown.

Leaves: alternate, mostly broadly fan-shaped, from quite hairless to downy and often copiously stalked-glandular on both surfaces, usually 1.5-2.5 cm broad and commonly
shallowly 3- or 5-lobed and closely blunt-toothed.

Flowers: about 2-8 in clusters on short stalks, the entire cluster usually both finely short-hairy and sticky with short- stalked glands. Flower stalks shorter than the bracts. The
calyx greenish-white to pink-tinged, from nearly hairless to short-hairy as well as stalked-glandular, nearly cylindric, 6-8 mm long, the 5 lobes spreading-bent back, 1.5-3 mm
long. The 5 petals 1-2 mm long, equaling to considerably exceeding the 5 stamens. Anthers 0.7-1.5 mm long, oval, tipped with a small cup-shaped gland. Styles sometimes
joined nearly or quite to the stigmas. Flowering time: April-June.

Flower color is white according to Weber and Intermountain Flora and pink-to-white according to Guennel and Welsh. Notice the glandular hairs on the flowers and the wonderful shape of the protruding, green anthers (both characteristics are especially noticeable on the pink flowers).

Fruits: berries, ovoid, 6-8 mm long, sparingly glandular, dull to bright red, unpalatable.



Compare Species
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Grossulariaceae
Saxifragales
Saxifragales
Rock Breaker Order
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Medicinal Uses:The plant was used medicinally by the Okanagan-Colville, Shoshoni and Thompson Indians. An infusion of the inner bark was used as a wash for sore eyes. The fruit was sometimes eaten in quantity to induce vomiting. It has also been used to treat diarrhea.

Leaves and root are a diuretic. At San Ildefonso Pueblo, the ground leaves - reduced to a paste with water - have been spread over a fracture with dandelion leaves bound on it with rags.

An infusion of the inner bark has been used as a wash for sore eyes

Food Uses:The berries of wax currant is edible raw or cooked. However, it is reportedly not very palatable to humans, and large quantities have been known to cause nausea. Reports on the quality of the berries vary, and range from insipid and rubbery to highly esteemed. The berries can also be used to make pemmican, jellies, jams, sauces, and pies. Berries can also be dried for later use. They were used for food by several Indian tribes. Young leaves are edible as well. The flowers of wax currant are edible raw and are said to have a sweet flavor.
All parts are edible. Roots are ground and used for a coffee substitute. Flower heads make wine. Young leaves are cooked like spinach.




Wax Currant




Wax Currant




Wax Currant


Comment: Wax Currant, Ribes cereum Douglas

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