Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Ribes sanguineum Pursh

Fully hardy, upright, spineless, deciduous shrub with rounded, 3- to 5-lobed leaves, to 10cm long, and pendant racemes of tubular, deep pinkish-red flowers in spring, followed by spherical blue-black fruit.  To 2m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Few, if any of the numerous interesting and hardy plants introduced to our gardens by Mr. Douglas from the Northwest coast of America, are more truly deserving of cultivation, and of a place in our borders and in our shrubberies, than the subject of the present plate.  Its original discoverer was Mr. Menzies, and it has since been gathered by Mr. Douglas, by Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, and by Dr. Scouler, in countries extending from lat. 48 degrees, in California, to 52 degrees N.  Most of the species of the Genus hitherto known to us, recommend themselves by the excellence of their fruit: their flowers being insignificant, both as to size and to colour: here we have a species remarkable for the fine purplish red of the numerous clusters of flowers and the delicate green of the copiously veined foliage.  But in proportion to the beauty of the flowers, in this instance, is the worthlessness of the fruit.’  [BM t.3335/1834].  

‘From the time of its first discovery until its introduction in 1826, comparatively nothing was known of it in this country; but in the last mentioned time Mr. Douglas forwarded seeds to the Horticultural Society’s garden.  He says it usually grows on rocky situations, or on the shingly shores of streams, in partially shaded situations.’  [MB p.3/1834].  Ribes sanguineum superbum is ‘a variety far superior to the species.  Its numerous pendant racemes of richly crimson-tinted blossoms are produced in [spring]’.  [Gard. Chron. 1849]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.830/1850].  It may have been obtained from the London Horticultural Society.  It was included among desiderata in a letter to John Lindley dated 15th February 1848 [A2933-1, p.157], and again on 1st February, 1849 [MP A2933-1 p.182a], but was not marked ‘arrived’ on Macarthur’s copy.  It had previously been requested of J. Abbott of Hobart, 16th June 1846 [MP A2933-2 p.159].


Published Mar 25, 2009 - 04:19 PM | Last updated Mar 27, 2010 - 04:26 PM

Shown are 3- to 5-lobed leaves and pendant racemes of tubular, deep pink flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine  t.3335, 1834.

Ribes sanguineum Pursh | BM t.3335/1834 | BHL

Family Grossulariaceae
Region of origin

Western North America

Common Name

Flowering currant, White currant

Name in the Camden Park Record

Ribes sanguineum 

Confidence level high