Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Ribes cereum
wax currant

Distribution: Widespread east of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to the Great Plains.

Habitat: Shrub-steppe and sagebrush desert to sub-alpine ridges.

Flowers: April-June

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Spreading to erect, unarmed shrub 0.5-1.5 m. tall, the new branches finely puberulent, turning grayish-brown or reddish-brown.


Leaves alternate, reniform to fan-shaped with a wedge-shaped base, 1.5-2.5 cm. broad, palmately 3- or 5-lobed much less than half their length, the lobes with rounded teeth.


Flowers 2-8 in short racemes on peduncles much shorter than the leaves, the entire inflorescence pubescent and glandular; pedicels shorter than the bracts; calyx tube cylindric, 6-8 mm. long, the 5 lobes deltoid-ovate, spreading; lobes and tube greenish-white to white or strongly pinkish-tinged, 1.5-3 mm. long; petals spatulate-obovate, 1-2 mm. long, half exserted; stamens 5, shorter than the petals; styles 2, fused nearly full length; ovary inferior, sparingly glandular.


Berry ovoid, 6-8 mm. long, dull or bright orange or red.