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

Ribes lacustre (Pers.) Poir.
black gooseberry (black swamp gooseberry; prickly currant)
Grossulariaceae (Currant family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Dave Ingram  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6063)

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Distribution of Ribes lacustre
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Species Information

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Deciduous shrub, loosely branched, 0.5-2 m tall; stems erect to spreading, finely short-hairy and bristly with slender, sharp prickles and usually larger, 6-12 mm long, nodal spines; bark reddish-brown.
Alternate, mostly heart-shaped, 2-7 cm wide, 5-lobed more than half their length, glabrous or sparsely short-hairy along the veins, rarely glandular, coarsely toothed; stalks about equal to or slightly longer than the blades, glabrous.
Inflorescence of 5-15 flowers in a drooping raceme from shorter to longer than the leaves; flower stalks 3-7 mm long, jointed just below the flowers; petals pinkish, 1.5-2 mm long, broadly spoon-shaped; hypanthium saucer-shaped, about 1 mm long; calyces pale yellowish-green to dull reddish-brown, stalked, glandular-hairy, the tips reddish to purplish; styles free to the base, about equaling the stamens.
Berries, nearly round, dark purple, 4-8 mm long, stalked, glandular-hairy.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist streambanks, open woodlands, forest margins and rock outcrops in the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC except extreme NE BC; N to AK, YT and SW NT, E to NF and S to PA, MI, SD, CO, UT and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ribes lacustre

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 1150 2750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 230
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 10 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
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: AT(19), BG(7), BWBS(424), CWH(339), ESSF(2948), ICH(1979), IDF(594), IMA(1), MH(23), MS(992), PP(19), SBPS(74), SBS(2126), SWB(22)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Asian and transcontinental North American deciduous shrub. Occurs on fresh to moist, nitrogen-rich soils within boreal, temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with increasing continentality. Common in semi-open forests on water-receiving sites, less often on water­shedding sites. Usually associated with Acer glabrum, Oplopanax horridus, Rubus parvifIorus, Smilacina stellata, and Valeriana sitchensis. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Limnobotrya lacustris (Pers.) Rydb.
Ribes lacustre var. parvulum Gray
Ribes oxycanthoides var. lacustre Pers.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References