Sierra goosberry (Ribes roezlii) flowers are beautiful and unique. The five red to rose sepals are bent back and the five small petals curve inward and resemble cylinders surrounding the five protruding stamens. (Pictures of the flowers are in my 06-12-20012 post “Sierra Gooseberry”.)
The Sierra gooseberry fruit is as formidable as the flower is lovely. Sierra gooseberries are covered in sharp spines. To me they resemble the head of a mace. It is painful to pick the gooseberries with bare fingers. The berry is filled with small seeds.
Green when immature, Sierra gooseberries turn red or purple when ripe and are edible. Unfortunately because of the spines this sweet treat is difficult to eat. I have carefully removed the spines on a few berries and they were tasty. If cooked and forced through a fine sieve to remove the spines, Sierra gooseberry pulp makes good jam or syrup.
The gooseberry spines cling to the fur of passing animals and help with seed dispersal.
This native shrub grows in dry forests and on shady slopes in the Sierra Nevada and Klamath Mountains of California, Nevada and Oregon. These Sierra gooseberry plants were photographed near Medicine Lake (Siskiyou County CA).