Flowering Currant

Flowering currant in bloom (Ribes sanguineum)
A popular ornamental shrub with pendent clusters of bright pink tubular flowers, Flowering Currant is a commonly planted shrub in gardens and parks all over the country, occasionally naturalised in woodland edges and hedgerows.

Table of Contents

Flowering currant: Plant profile

Common names

Flowering Currant, Pink-Flowering Currant, Red-Flowering Currant, Blood Currant, Redflower Currant

Botanical name

Ribes sanguineum

Plant family

Grossulariaceae (Currant family)

Distribution

The plant is native to North America and has naturalised in the UK.

Where to find Flowering Currant

Flowering currant is widely planted in parks and gardens for their ornamental value, but it sometimes grow in the wild as an escapee, in hedgerows and woodland edges.

When to find Flowering Currant

Pick flowers from late winter to early spring and berries in late summer to autumn.

How to identify Flowering Currant

Flowering currant is a deciduous shrub. Leaves are green and palmately lobed, alternately arranged on stems. The flower heads bloom at the same times as the leaves appear and consist of drooping racemes with clusters of dark pink aromatic flowers.

The pea-size berries are dark purple in colour witha grey cast to their skin. The surface of the berries is covered in short glandular hairs and the old flower’s corolla tube remains stuck to the fruit.

Flowering Currant lookalikes

Leaves resemble other members of the same family, such as Red Currant (Ribes rubrum) and Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum). However both flowers and berries are easy to tell apart – and there is no need to worry, as all of them are edible.

A number of Flowering Currant varieties have been developed with different shades of pink. While all of them are fine to eat, flavour may vary from plant to plant.

Flowering currant in bloom (Ribes sanguineum)

All about Flowering Currant

Originally from North America, Flowering Currant is a popular ornamental shrub in the British Isles due to its beautiful springtime displays. Drooping racemes of aromatic, bright pink flowers bring happiness to parks and gardens, signalling the end of the long and cold winter days.

The berries that follow the flowers ripen to a dark purple with a characteristic grey cast to their skin. Part of the Currant family, the shrub relates to other familiar plants sought-after by their edible berries. However the forager interest in the Flowering Currant comes from its edible bloom.

Medicinal properties of Flowering Currant

The medicinal properties of this plant have not been explored yet and there is not much historical use available.

Culinary uses and recipes with Flowering Currant

The aromatic flowers have a distinctive sweet and resinous scent that manages to combine fruity, floral and herbaceous aromas. The smell can be described in between sage and blackcurrant, which works to perfection with both savoury and sweet preserves.

Infused into liquids, the pink bloom can make gorgeous cordial, aromatic syrup or a strongly full-bodied liqueur, as well as floral vinegar and a soothing tea.

The berries, on the other hand, represent a challenge to the forager, as these lack the intense flavour of other similar berries such as Blackcurrants – and taste a bit peppery sometimes. Though they might need a bit more sugar, the pectin-rich berries can be successfully used to make jam, jelly, cordial, syrup, as well as fruit leather and chutney

The leaves are also edible and are best infused into herbal tea.

Flowering currant berries (Ribes sanguineum)(Ribes sanguineum)

Safe foraging of Flowering Currant

None known.

Ecological importance of Flowering Currant

Flowering Currant provides an early source of food for insect pollinators, particularly bees, which go crazy for the nectar. The berries are also appreciated by birds.

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Alvaro Docio

Alvaro Docio

I am the person behind British Local Food. As a forager and wild food educator, my aim is to inspire you to go outdoors, familiarise with your local plants and make the best of their culinary and medicinal properties, in the hope you'd pass on any knowledge gained down to the next generation.

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