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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Dave Ingram     (Photo ID #6063)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Ribes lacustre
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
1150 0 2750
Slope Gradient (%)
20 0 230

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

10 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Limnobotrya lacustris (Pers.) Rydb.
Ribes lacustre var. parvulum Gray
Ribes oxycanthoides var. lacustre Pers.