Red-Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)

This beautiful native shrub is one of our earliest to bloom. Its deep pink clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers are favourite food sources for hummingbirds as well as butterflies and other pollinators. Berries later provide food for birds.

The botanical name is said to be derived from the Persian or Arabic word ribas, meaning acid-tasting.  Sanguineum means blood-red.

Look for red-flowering currant on the edge of the forest or in open forest, from sea level all the way up to disturbed areas along the Forest Service roads above Mamquam Road.

English botanists Menzies and Douglas admired the shrub during their visits to our coast around 1800Red-flowering current . Douglas was responsible for taking seeds back to England, where the shrub is now a prized ornamental. Cuttings root easily in sand. Because red-flowering currant is drought tolerant, it is a great choice for the edges of a garden.

Although the shrub is considered to be very hardy, it and other members of the Ribes (Gooseberry) family act as hosts for the second stage of white pine blister rust.  This has caused red-flowering currant to be restricted in some areas where white pine is an important species.  For the story of white pine blister rust, see Forest Pathology.

If you’re interested in learning more about the red-flowering currant, here are links to the US Department of Agriculture and the Wild Harvests Blog .