Flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) is found in and around wooded habitats from California through British Columbia. It grows between sea level and approximately 7,200 feet. There are two forms of flowering currant, one growing along the coast and at low elevations and the other inhabiting montane and subalpine elevations.
A member of the Currant/Gooseberry Family (Grossulariaceae), flowering currant is an open, erect shrub without any spines or prickles. The herbage is glandular. Mature bark is brownish and shredding.
The deciduous, alternate leaves are shallow lobed and irregularly toothed. The upper surfaces are darker and lightly hairy while the undersides of the leaf blades are lighter and have more hairs.
The inflorescence of flowering currant is an open cluster of 10 to 15, or more, flowers. The tubular flowers are deep pink to red, darkening with age. The flowers have five petals, five stamens, an inferior ovary and reddish bracts. The five sepals are spreading and longer than the tube.
Flowering currant fruits are one-celled, many-seeded berries. These black berries with a whitish bloom are edible but not highly regarded.
Other common names for R sanguineum include red flowering currant and winter currant. In Latin the species designation means “blood red” or “bloody”.
This flowering currant was blooming in February along the Bayview Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore CA.