[The Currant Family East of the Cascade Mts.]
Rothrock Currant

Ribes wolfii

The photo above shows a close-up of the flower and leaf of Rothrock currant. The photos on this page were all taken at Hat Point on the western rim of Hells Canyon, Wallowa-Whitman NF............July 8, 1999.

Also known as Wolf's gooseberry, Rothrock currant is a shrub up to 2 meters high with the unarmed stems spreading to erect. The leaves are petiolate with petioles from 1.7-4.5 cm long with blades 2-6 cm long and 2.5-9 cm wide. They are suborbicular with heart-shaped bases and 3-5 lobes, the lobes broad and triangular in shape and not extending far outwards from the bulk of the blade (See photo at right.). The leaves are glabrous above and either glabrous or minutely haired below, the hairs more prominent on the underside of the veins. Gland-tipped hairs may also be found on the veins of the ventral leaf surface. The venation is simple palmate, with the veins impressed into the blade below and ridged outwards below.

The inflorescence consists of dense racemes of 7-25 flowers borne on short leafy branches. The racemes extend from 4.5-9.5 cm in length. The individual flowers are subtended by elliptic-lanceolate bracts which are yellowish-white to reddish in color and 3-5 mm long. The pedicels are equal to or shorter than the bracts, 1.5-6 mm long and covered with gland-tipped hairs. The hypanthium is 1.2-1.5 mm long from its base to the beginning of the sepals. The sepals are 3.3-4 mm long and 1.8-2.3 mm wide, lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate in shape and spreading moderately from the axis of the flower. The sepals are greenish-yellow, white or cream in color. The petals are about 1-1.5 mm long and about 1-1.5 mm wide, obovate in shape and cream, yellowish-green or pinkish in color. The style is split in two for much of its length and is glabrous. The stamens are about equal to the petals and are 1.4-1.7 mm long while the filaments are about 1 mm long. The ovoid berry is 3-6 mm wide and densely covered with gland-tipped hairs, the glands being yellowish or greenish in color.


Rothrock currant may be found between the elevations of 1900-3400 meters in wet meadows and other moist places with aspen, Douglas fir, spruce, fir and other montane forest trees.


Rothrock currant may be found from the Blue Mts. of southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon, the Seven Devils Mts. of Idaho and east to central and western Colorado and south through Utah to new Mexico and eastern Arizona.

The photo above shows a close-up of the flowers of Rothrock currant. Notice the glandular pedicels and hypanthium.

Paul Slichter