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Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
 
Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)

General: Wax Currant (Ribes cereum) is the most common shrub in the higher mountains around Las Vegas. The leaves are small and fan shaped with crinkly edges. The flowers are long and tubular, and the fruit is a red, edible berry with the tubular flower-structure still attached. The stems lack spines (in contrast to Desert Gooseberry). In the fall, the leaves turn golden yellow before dropping for the season.

Wax Currant usually is the most common shrub in montane communities in the upper Transition (Yellow Pine Forest), Canadian (Pine-Fir Forest) and lower Hudsonian (Bristlecone Forest) life zones.

Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)

Family: Gooseberry (Grossulariaceae).

Other Names: Gooseberry

Plant Form: Upright shrub, sometimes forming thickets.

Height: Waist-high, occasionally taller.

Bark: Reddish, aging to gray.

Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)

Stems: Erect, many branches, without spines.

Leaves: Blade 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches long, round, shallowly lobed, finely toothed, upper surface glossy; odor spicy.

Flowers: Inflorescence raceme of 3–7 flowers. Flower: tubular about 1/3-inch long; sepals white to pink at base of tube.

Seeds: Fruit: berry, 1/3-inch diameter, red. Seeds tiny.

Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)

Habitat: Dry mountain slopes, mostly rocky areas, open forest, and in forest openings.

Elevation: 5,000 to 11,000+ feet.

Distribution: Western U.S. from California to British Columbia, east to the central states.

Comments: Gooseberries and Currents are in the same genus (Ribes) and closely related. Gooseberries can be recognized by the presence of spines on the stems and spiny hairs on the berry, while Currents generally lack spines.

Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)
Fall on Mt. Charleston
Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)
Note naked stems, tubular flowers, and crinkly leaves
Wax Currant (Ribes cereum) Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)
Wax Currant (Ribes cereum) Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)
Wax Currant (Ribes cereum) Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)
Wax Currant (Ribes cereum) Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)
Wax Currant (Ribes cereum) Wax Currant (Ribes cereum)

 
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Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 101104

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