[The Currant Family East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry

Ribes montigenum

Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum

Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)

Alpine prickly currant blooming at Indian Springs Campground, Malheur National Forest..............July 1, 2010. Note the glandular upper surface of the leaves which differentiates this species from the similar prickly currant (Ribes lacustre) which has glabrous upper leaf surfaces (and usually larger leaves).

Gland-covered leaf of Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)Characteristics:

Alpine prickly currant is a a low shrub with straggly branches ranging from 20-100 cm high. It is a densely short-pubescent and glandular species with 1-5 flattened spines at the nodes from 4-6 mm long and a few shorter, slender bristles or spines between the nodes. The leaves are deeply 5-lobed with hear-shaped bases and with the lobes deeply cleft and coarsely toothed. Individual leaves are 1.5-3 cm wide are haired above and covered with numerous stalked glands.

The inflorescences consist of short axillary racemes of 4-10 whitish, pinkish or purplish flowers. The pedicels are 1-5 cm long and jointed. The hypanthium is saucer-shaped rather than tubular , about 5 mm wide and lined with a thin disk. The sepals are yellowish-green to pinkish in color. The stamens are about equal to the petals. The berry is reddish to black, 5-8 mm wide and glandular.


Habitat:

Alpine prickly currant is found on dry, open rocky outcrops or slopes at high elevations above 1800 meters in the mountains.


Range:

Alpine prickly currant may be found from the Cascade Mts of British Columbia south to California and east to Idaho, Nevada and Arizona.


Close-up of the flowers of Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum) - Close-up of the flowers of Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)

Close-up of the leaves and prickles of Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum) - A creeping form of Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)

Close-ups of alpine prickly currant as seen at the trailhead for the Roads End Trail and along the Onion Creek Trail at 7800' the southeast side of Strawberry Mountain, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness................August 3, 2011.

Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)

Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)

Alpine prickly currant as seen near the head of Kiger Gorge, Steens Mountain..........July 11, 2014.

Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum) - Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum) - Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)

The photo at left shows alpine prickly currant blooming at Indian Springs Campground, Malheur National Forest..............July 1, 2010. The photos at center and right show alpine prickly curant blooming along FS Road #2630 near Pisgah Springs, Ochoco National Forest........June 13, 2015. This site is along the southern boundary of the Bridge Creek Wilderness.

Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)

Alpine prickly currant blooming along the High Lake Trail, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness..........July 17, 2013.

Prickly stem, glandular leaves and bowl-shaped flowers of Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum) - Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum) - Flower of Alpine Prickly Currant, Gooseberry Currant, Mountain Gooseberry, Western Prickly Gooseberry: Ribes montigenum (Synonyms: Limnobotrya montigena, Ribes lacustre var. molle, Ribes lentum, Ribes molle, Ribes nubigneum)

Close-ups of the flowers, leaves and spiny stems of alpine prickly currant. Note the 2-cleft style, the large, lighter colored sepals and the tiny, reddish petals shaped like small hatchet heads. Photographed on the north and South Loop Roads of the Steens Mt on June 24 & 25, 2000.

Paul Slichter