E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Ribes divaricatum Douglas
Straggly Gooseberry (coastal black gooseberry; Currant; spreading gooseberry; wild black gooseberry)
Grossulariaceae (Currant family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Liz Watkinson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #8119)

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Distribution of Ribes divaricatum
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Ribes divaricatum var. divaricatum

Species Information

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Deciduous shrub, loosely branched, 0.5-2 m tall; stems erect to spreading, 1-3 stout, chestnut-colored spines at the nodes, otherwise usually unarmed although sometimes bristly on the internodes; bark grey to brownish.
Alternate, broadly egg-shaped, 2-6 cm wide, usually 3-lobed slightly over half their length, the lower lobes again shallowly cleft into 2 unequal segments, hairy; stalks about equal to or slightly longer than the blades.
Inflorescence of 1-4 flowers in a slender, drooping raceme more or less equal to the leaves; flower stalks not jointed below the flowers, subtended by 1-3 small, hairy bracteoles; petals white to red, 1.5-2.5 mm long, egg-shaped; hypanthium narrowly bell-shaped, 2.5-3 mm long; calyces red to reddish-green, the lobes narrowly oblong to rounded, 5-7 mm long; styles densely soft long-hairy above the middle, about equaling the stamens.
Berries, round, purplish-black, 6-10 mm long, glabrous.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic thickets, meadows, open woodlands, and forests in the lowland zone; frequent on Vancouver Island, the Gulf islands and adjacent mainland; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ribes divaricatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 59 399
Slope Gradient (%) 0 6 36
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
35 23 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 5 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(42), CWH(22)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Pacific than in the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Sporadic in semi-open Douglas-fir forests on water­shedding sites; persists on cutover areas. Characteristic of early-seral communities.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References