Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
Fri. & Sat. from 9am-4pm
8331 Nelson Way
Escondido, CA 92026
Tues. to Sat. from 9am-4pm

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Currants and Gooseberries native to California

Currants and gooseberries (Ribes spp.), are some of the neatest California native plants. They have great flowers, tasty fruit, fragrant foliage, good fall color, and much more. Currants (no spines, clusters of flowers) and gooseberries(thorns and many small flowers) are loved by many birds including the California Thrasher the Hermit Thrush, and the American Robin. Currant and gooseberry flowers are very popular with hummingbirds. They do well under oaks and once established, don't need water. They are great in gardens.

Ribes amarum has cute flowers.  - grid24_6
Ribes amarum, Bitter Gooseberry, tolerates part sun, full shade, sand, clay, seasonal flooding, and deer.

Ribes amarum, Bitter Gooseberry 

Bitter Gooseberry has red and white flowers and shiny dark green leaves. It makes 3 to 6ft tall open erect shrub. It likes full shade and moist areas. It is found in Chaparral, Central Oak Woodland, and Yellow Pine Forest along the coast ranges from Monterey county south and along the base of the Sierra Nevada range from Eldorado county south to San Diego County.

Ribes aureum aureum, Golden Currant

Golden Currant is an erect shrub that grows from 3 to 6 ft tall. It has very dark colored berries, shiny green leaves, and yellow flowers that turn orange with age. It grows in Sagebrush Scrub, Lodgepole Forest, Valley Grassland, and Riparian in Fresno and Inyo counties along the sierra Nevada range to Modoc county and Siskiyou counties.


Ribes aureum gracillimum, Golden Currant

This Golden currant forms a small thicket about 6 ft wide and 3-6ft tall. It has very straight branches an lots of yellow flowers and small shiny green leaves. The yellow flowers are popular with hummingbirds. It has yellow berries that turn black as they ripen. They are quite tasty, but you have to pick a lot of them. The berries are also a favorite of the California Thrasher as well as many other berry eating birds. It makes a neat, clean bush without any sticky leaves or spines, They grow in Southern Oak Woodland along the coast ranges from Alameda to Riverside county.

A short movie about Golden Currant. The regular aureum looks very similar to this in the high desert Juniper woodland washes., but it seldom flowers here.

You're not the only one that can't pronounce nor spell the botanic names. Just try to remember the first three letters, then you can look them up.

Ribes aureum gracillimum, Golden Currant with Anna Hummingbird. This native plant grows on the north slopes of Malibu, Latigo,  and through the Los Angeles Basin; San Gabriel Valley. - grid24_12
Hummingbirds, native bees and some butterflies like the Golden Currant flowers.
Ribes aureum gracillimum, Golden Current Berries. - grid24_12
The Currants are liked by most everyone.

Ribes californicum, Hillside Gooseberry

Hillside Gooseberry forms a large shrub, 8ft tall and 6ft wide. It has lots of delicate red and white flowers that hummingbirds like. Many other California birds use it for cover. It is found in Chaparral, Central Oak Woodland, Coastal Sage Scrub, Mixed-evergreen Forest, and Redwood Forest plant communities along the coast ranges from Mendocino to Monterey County.

A short video about Hillside Gooseberry or California Gooseberry.

Ribes californicum Hillside Gooseberry
Many native bees and butteries also like the flowers. California Thrashers love the berries.

Ribes divaricatum

Ribes divaricatum grows 3 to 9 ft tall. It is really spiny. Flowers are not very showy but there are a lot of them. It likes shady areas and riparian corridors. It is found in central oak woodland, mixed evergreen forest, and Redwood forest along the coast ranges from Santa Barbra county to Humboldt and Shasta counties.

Ribes divaricatum, Coast Black Gooseberry - grid24_12
Ribes divaricatum, Coast Black Gooseberry

Ribes indecorum, White-flowered currant

This is probably the most drought tolerant Ribes in California. (Except maybe R. aureum) It grows in the chaparral and Coastal sage scrub throughout southern and central California. It grows around our San Luis Obispo Nursery site. This is a very harsh environment in the summer, very dry and very hot 115 degrees F. It survives it by going summer deciduous.

It comes out of dormancy after the first rain and has flowers by February.

White-flowered currant has reddish-brown bark that contrasts with its clean white flowers.

A short video about Ribes indecorum, White-flowered currant 

An Anna Hummingbird working the flowers of White currant, Ribes indecorum - grid24_12
Hummingbirds, Bumblebees and specific native bees love the flowers.
Ribes indecorum, White Chaparral Currant, in full flower in the chaparral of central California. - grid24_12
White chaparral currant can grow into a 6 ft. bush.
Ribes indecorum, White Flowering Currant, here with its clusters of ripening fruits.  - grid24_6
The currants are of fair size and taste.

Ribes malvaceum, Chaparral currant

Of the pink currants, this is probably the most drought tolerant. It has lots of pink flower clusters that are very popular with the hummingbirds. It leaves are very fragrant and it doesn't have any bristles! It does well in sun but is at home under oaks. It is native in Chaparral, Central oak woodland, and closed cone coniferous forest in the coast ranges.

A short video about Ribes malvaceum, Chaparral currant

The berries start out red and turn nearly black by the time they ripen. They are enjoyed by many birds. In a sunny area it may grow about 6 ft tall and 4 ft wide, making excellent cover for the birds. In the shade it forms a more open bush. It does great without water, under oaks!
Ribes malvaceum, Pink Chaparral currant flower show. - grid24_12
Ribes malvaceum, Chaparral currant does well in chaparral as well as under oaks.
Is it a Rufous or Allen Hummingbird? Only the males know. The plant is Ribes malvaceum, Pink Chaparral Currant.
Is it a Rufous or Allen Hummingbird? Only the males know. The plant is Ribes malvaceum, Pink chaparral currant.

Ribes menziesii, Canyon Gooseberry, with its distinctive purple-red-white flowers and lobed leaves.  - grid24_12
The flowers are medium sized and used by bumblebees and hummingbirds. So, how do we know? We've had one plant in the ground for 30 plus years and it's still doing fine.
Ribes menziesii, Canyon Gooseberry. Currants and gooseberries, such as this Canyon Gooseberry, Ribes menziesii, lend themselves well to shade gardens.  - grid24_12
You'll find Canyon Gooseberry in the north slopes and bottom of canyons. Great on the north side of buildings in the canyons of modern cities.

Ribes menziesii, Canyon Gooseberry 

Canyon gooseberry is a drought tolerant shrub with red and white flowers. Older branches have few thorns. However, it shouldn't be planted near walk ways. (There is one in our demonstration garden that likes to catch passerbys.) It has shiny green foliage and erect branches.

A short video about Ribes menziesii, Canyon Gooseberry.


Ribes nevadense, Sierra Current closeup - grid24_12
The flowers are really cool when you take the time to look.
Ribes nevadense berries - grid24_12
The fruits are sweet and and in clusters.

Ribes nevadense, Pink Sierra Currant 

Pink Sierra Currant is similar to R. sang. glut. but it grows at higher elevations and is a smaller bush. Pink Sierra Currant has large pink flower clusters and no thorns. The leaves are large, soft, and fragrant. It can tolerate being over watered as ell as drought conditions.

A short video about Ribes nevadense, Pink Sierra Currant


Ribes quercetorum, Yellow Gooseberry

Yellow gooseberry is nearly always associated with deciduous oaks in the wild, usually right along the drip line of the oak. In our garden it is growing under a box elder so their oak affiliation is not set in stone. It does seem to be happiest there however. Yellow gooseberry makes a tight little shrub a few feet tall with weeping branches and yellow flowers. It has black berries. It is very drought tolerant.

Yellow gooseberry,  Ribes quercetorum grows in the interior of San Luis Obispo - grid24_12
Ribes quercetorum, Yellow Gooseberry, tolerates full sun, part sun, clay, and seasonal flooding.
Ribes roezlii, Sierra Gooseberry, is a showy, wide-ranging gooseberry, of the California mountains.  - grid24_12

Ribes roezlii, Sierra Gooseberry

Sierra gooseberry has flowers that are more burgundy colored than red. The bark is brownish. It grows about 3 feet tall, tolerates full sun, part sun, full shade, seasonal flooding, and deer.

Ribes sanguineum glutinosum, Pink-Flowered Currant flowers - grid24_12
Ribes sanguineum glutinosum, Pink-Flowered Currant has showy flowers.
Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum, Pink-Flowering Currant, is one of the showiest wild currants, with its pendulous clusters of reddish-pink flowers.
Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum, Pink-Flowering Currant, is one of the showiest wild currants, with its pendulous clusters of reddish-pink flowers.

Ribes sanguineum glutinosum, Pink-Flowered Currant 

This is a very classy looking shrub. It has many large pendant pink flower clusters and large fragrant leaves. It is very drought tolerant after the first year or so and does well under oaks. It also will tolerate winter flooding. Hummingbirds love it and it smells great.

A short video about Ribes sanguineum glutinosum, Pink-Flowered Currant.


Ribes sericeum, Santa Lucia Gooseberry

This guy is really prickly but it also as beautiful flowers. It grows great along the coast in shade or full sun. it likes water. The fruits. Santa Lucia gooseberry has spiny purple fruits

Ribes viscosissimum, Sticky Currant, is a sagebrush currant we grew many years ago.  - grid24_12

Ribes viscosissium hallii, Sticky Currant

Sticky currant has large pinkish flower clusters and large fragrant leaves. It is native to northern California.


Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry, flowering and growing here in beach sand in Nipomo, California.  - grid24_12
Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry, flowering and growing here in beach sand in Nipomo, California.
Ribes speciosum Fuchsia-Flowering Gooseberry. with an Anna's hummingbird - grid24_12
Ribes speciosum Fuchsia-Flowering Gooseberry. with an Anna's hummingbird

Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia-Flowering Gooseberry

Fuchsia-flowering gooseberries is favored by hummingbirds over other Ribes flowers. Its nectar has a higher sugar content. The flowers are very long and bright red. The leaves are deep green in color and shiny. It grows in part shade at our Santa Margarita nursery garden. Which means it will do fine in milder climates in full or part shade. I have also seen it in full shade. It is very drought tolerant, going summer deciduous.

A short video about Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia-Flowering Gooseberry,


Evergreen  currant  or Catalina perfume  flowers.
Evergreen currant or Catalina perfume flowers
Ribes viburnifolium, Evergreen Currant in gallon pot - grid24_12
Evergreen Currant, Catalina Perfume, tolerates part sun, full shade, clay, and deer. The currant is heavily scented like a cheap wine.

Ribes viburnifolium, Evergreen Currant 

An evergreen currant? Yep. It doesn't look much like any other currant in California. It has shiny dark green leathery leaves, red bark, and small purplish flowers. It does well under oaks.

A short video about Evergreen Currant, Catalina Perfume.