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Redcurrant - Ribes rubrum

Redcurrant - Ribes rubrum

Main features

  • An native shrub that is often cultivated and can be found wild in woodland and hedgerows

  • Leaves with three-lobes and toothed edges

  • Leaf veins are palmate

  • Dangling panicle of small green-petalled flowers

  • Leaves do not have scent when crushed

  • Flowers followed by berries spherical berries that mature to a glossy red 

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Redcurrant - Ribes rubrum

Edible plant - novice

Other common names: None known


Scientific name meaning: Ribes is Arabic in origin and means "having sour sap". Rubrum is from the Latin Rubeo, meaning to be red

Season Fruits in late Spring to Summer

Habitat - where will I find it? A native shrub that is often cultivated, it can be found growing wild in woodland and hedgerows

Description - what does it look like? 

Redcurrant has leaves with three lobes and palmate veins. They have no smell when crushed.

The flower heads are dangling racemes of discreet green-coloured flowers. 

The berries that follow ripen to glossy, red spheres

Possible lookalikes Other currants and Gooseberries, though these are also edible. Gooseberries have prickles on their stems

Use as a food The berries can be used to make jams, jellies, cordials, wine, syrup, fruit leather, and chutneys. they can be sharp so usually require sugar to sweeten

Use in herbal medicine Has been used to treat constipation, rheumatism and scurvy

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Other uses The berries are used in facemasks to firm the skin. Dyes are obtained from the leaves (yellow) and fruit (black)

Hazards The leaves contain hydrogen cyanide so should not be consumed in large quantities

Importance to other species Provides an important food source for pollinators, particularly bees

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!

Redcurrant - Ribes rubrum leaf
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