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Editor's Pick

ribes

Hillside or California Gooseberry (Ribes californicum)

This shrubby plant is a North American species of currant that is endemic to California. Its favorite habitat is chaparral, found on the lower reaches of our mountain ranges. Its most striking characteristic is its finely-sculpted leaves, but its delicate pendant flowers are a close second.

According to Calscape, this gooseberry prefers moist places, at elevations from sea level to nearly 6,000 feet. Given the right conditions, it can be quite large: 4 to 8 feet high and 2 to 6 feet wide. The dangling flowers, which appear in spring, are pink, purple, or yellow. The branches bear spines, so keep this in mind when choosing a planting location.

The flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds and the berries make it a valuable wildlife plant, especially to birds. It hosts several butterfly species, including the Tailed Copper, Hoary Comma and Oreas Comma.

Photographer: ProboscideaRubber15

 

Each month our editor, Laura Lukes, highlights an outstanding plant, an interesting insect, a fun place to visit, a new technique, or helpful tool.

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