Whitestem currant is a sprawling to erect shrub from 1-2 meters high with slender and smooth stems with widely spaced single prickles which are thin and short (4-10 mm long) and which are straight to slightly curved. The bark is generraly grayish, flaky and deep red underneath. The leaves are simple and palmately veined as seen in the photo at right. The blades are generally ovate with a rounded to more commonly heart-shaped base. The margins are 3-5 lobed, the lobes generally extending to nearly one-half way into the blade. Each lobe is further cut or toothed along its margin. The blades measure from 2-5 cm wide. The leaf petioles range from shorter to longer than the blades.
The inflorescence is a pendant raceme which is shorter than the leaves with 2-4 flowers. The tubular/ bell-shaped calyx measures from 3-7 mm long and not as wide. It is green to purplish or reddissh in color. The petals are white to pinkish in color with cuneate-obovate to oblong petals from 1-1.5 mm long. The petals are up 3/5 the length of the calyx lobes. The stamens are roughly equal to the length of thecalyx lobes. The berry is reddish-purple in color, 7-9 mm long and smooth in texture. The berry is edible.
Ribes inerme may be confused with Ribes niveum which has larger flowers.
Whitestem currant may be found along stream banks, in thickets at the edges of meadows, and on open or woode slopes and mountain ridges.
Whitestem currant is found from British Columbia south along the eastern slope of the Cascade Mts. to the northern Coast Range and souther Sierra Nevada of California. It may be found eastward to Montan and south through the Rocky Mts. to New Mexico.
The photo above shows a close-up of the flowers of whitestem currant as found at Jackmann Park Campground,, Steen's Mt...........June 25, 2000.