Open the Advanced Search


Ribes uva-crispa

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Grossulariaceae (Currant)
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, scrub.

Green, 5 petals
Clusters of small pink-flushed green flowers.
Globular, green and fleshy berries, covered in bristly hairs.
Deciduous shrub with simple leaves. 3 to 5 deep lobes, bearing a slight resemblance to small Maple leaves.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Ribes uva-crispa, commonly known as the Gooseberry, is a species of the Ribes genus in the Grossulariaceae family. Gooseberries are native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. They are a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 1.5 m tall. They have prickly branches and simple, lobed leaves. The flowers are small and greenish-white, and the fruit is a small, green, red or purple berry that matures in late spring or early summer.

The gooseberry fruit is typically tart and acidic, but can be sweetened with sugar to make jams, jellies, and pies. The fruit is also high in vitamin C and other nutrients. Gooseberries are also traditionally used to make wine and cordial. The plant is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is valued for its attractive flowers and fruit.

Ribes uva-crispa is a hardy plant that can tolerate cold and damp conditions. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Gooseberries are also susceptible to a variety of diseases, including powdery mildew, and require regular pruning to maintain healthy growth and fruit production.


Gooseberry plants, scientifically known as Ribes uva-crispa, are small deciduous shrubs that belong to the Grossulariaceae family. These plants are native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia but are now grown in many parts of the world. The gooseberry plant is widely cultivated for its edible fruit, which is used in jams, pies, and other culinary applications. In this blog, we will discuss the features, cultivation, and health benefits of the gooseberry plant.

Features of the Gooseberry Plant

The gooseberry plant grows up to 1.5 meters tall and has a woody stem with several branches. The leaves are dark green and have a distinctive lobed shape. The plant produces small greenish-yellow flowers in early spring, which are followed by the fruit. The gooseberry fruit is round or oval-shaped and has a smooth, waxy skin. The fruit can be green, yellow, or red, depending on the variety.

Cultivation of the Gooseberry Plant

Gooseberry plants are easy to grow and can thrive in a variety of soils. However, they prefer well-draining soils that are rich in organic matter. The plant prefers a cool climate and can tolerate partial shade, but full sunlight is ideal for fruit production. Gooseberry plants can be propagated from cuttings or by layering.

To grow gooseberries, you should plant them in the fall or early spring. You can plant them in rows or in clusters, with a spacing of about 1-2 meters between plants. The plants require regular watering, especially during dry spells. You should also fertilize the plant with a balanced fertilizer in the spring and again in the fall.

When the fruit is mature, you can harvest it by gently pulling it off the plant. Gooseberries are typically harvested in early summer when they are firm and slightly tart. You can store the fruit in a cool, dry place for up to a week, or you can freeze it for later use.

Health Benefits of the Gooseberry Plant

The gooseberry fruit is low in calories and high in vitamin C and fiber, making it a nutritious addition to your diet. The fruit also contains antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

In traditional medicine, gooseberries have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and fever. The fruit has also been shown to have antimicrobial properties, which can help to fight infections.

Uses of Gooseberry Plant

Apart from its culinary and medicinal uses, gooseberry plants have several other uses. The wood of the gooseberry plant is hard and durable, making it suitable for making tool handles and walking sticks. The plant is also used in hedgerows and landscaping, as it provides an attractive and dense foliage cover.

In some cultures, the gooseberry plant is considered a symbol of good luck and is grown in gardens for its ornamental value. Additionally, the plant attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making it a valuable addition to a garden or landscape.

Varieties of Gooseberry Plant

There are several varieties of gooseberry plants, each with its unique characteristics. Some of the popular varieties include:

  1. Invicta - a vigorous and disease-resistant variety that produces large, green fruit.

  2. Hinnomaki Red - a Finnish variety that produces medium-sized, red fruit with a sweet and tangy flavor.

  3. Pax - a British variety that produces small, greenish-yellow fruit with a mild flavor.

  4. Captivator - a Canadian variety that produces medium-sized, reddish-purple fruit with a sweet flavor.

The gooseberry plant is a valuable addition to any garden or landscape. It is easy to grow and care for and provides a nutritious and delicious fruit that can be used in a variety of culinary applications. The plant has several medicinal properties and is also used for its wood and ornamental value. With its versatility and many benefits, the gooseberry plant is a must-have for any gardener or food enthusiast.

Potential Side Effects of Gooseberry Plant

While gooseberry plants are generally safe to consume, some people may experience side effects. The fruit of the gooseberry plant is acidic, and some people may experience heartburn or stomach discomfort after eating it. Additionally, some people may be allergic to gooseberries and may experience allergic reactions such as hives, itching, or difficulty breathing.

It is also worth noting that the leaves, stems, and roots of the gooseberry plant contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic in large quantities. It is recommended to avoid consuming large amounts of these plant parts, especially if you have a history of kidney stones.

Cultivation Tips for Gooseberry Plant

To ensure the best growth and fruit production of your gooseberry plant, it is essential to follow some cultivation tips. Here are some tips to help you grow healthy and fruitful gooseberry plants:

  1. Soil: Gooseberry plants prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. If your soil is too alkaline, you can amend it with sulfur to lower the pH.

  2. Sunlight: Gooseberry plants require full sunlight to thrive and produce fruit. Ensure that the plant receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

  3. Water: Gooseberry plants require regular watering, especially during the growing season. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. A mulch layer around the plant can help retain moisture and keep the roots cool.

  4. Fertilizer: Gooseberry plants benefit from a balanced fertilizer application in the spring and fall. Use a fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

  5. Pruning: Gooseberry plants require pruning to promote healthy growth and fruit production. Prune the plant in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove any dead or diseased wood, as well as any shoots that are growing inward or crossing.

  6. Pest and Disease Control: Gooseberry plants are susceptible to a few pests and diseases, such as powdery mildew and aphids. Regularly inspect the plant for any signs of infestation and treat accordingly. You can also prevent pest and disease problems by ensuring proper plant spacing, good air circulation, and removing any diseased or fallen fruit from the plant.

In conclusion, growing gooseberry plants can be a rewarding experience for any gardener or food enthusiast. By following these cultivation tips, you can ensure healthy growth and fruit production from your gooseberry plants. Remember to be aware of potential side effects and consume the fruit in moderation.

Harvesting and Using Gooseberries

Harvesting gooseberries is simple, and the fruit is ready to be picked when it is fully ripe, usually in mid-summer. The fruit should be firm and slightly tart when ripe. Pick the fruit by gently pulling it off the plant, being careful not to damage the stem or the fruit.

Gooseberries can be used in a variety of culinary applications. They are often used to make jams, jellies, pies, and desserts. The tartness of the fruit pairs well with sweet flavors, making it a popular ingredient in many recipes. Additionally, gooseberries can be used to make sauces and condiments, such as chutneys and relishes.

Gooseberries are also packed with nutrients and antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to any diet. They are high in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.

In traditional medicine, gooseberries have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, fever, and digestive issues. The fruit is also believed to have anti-cancer properties, although more research is needed to confirm these claims.

In conclusion, gooseberries are a versatile and nutritious fruit that can be used in a variety of culinary applications. They are easy to grow and care for, making them an excellent addition to any garden or landscape. With their many health benefits and culinary uses, gooseberries are a must-try for any food enthusiast.


Gooseberry filmed in multiple locations in April and May of 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map