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Downy Currant

Ribes spicatum

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.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Grossulariaceae (Currant)
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Gardens, riversides, waterside, woodland.

Green, 5 petals
Greenish-yellow flowers held in an erect spike, similar to those of Red Currant (Ribes rubrum) but with a cup-shaped receptacle at the base of the flower. Also, the anther lobes are closer together than those of Red Currant. The flowers are about 7mm in diameter. Pollinated by insects.
A fleshy and glossy red berry.
Yellowish-green, downy, 5-lobed leaves. Quite long stalked. Greyish on the undersides. Toothed leaf margins.
Other Names:
Black Currant, Blackcurrant, Nordic Currant, Nordic Redcurrant.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Ribes spicatum, also known as black currant or blackcurrant, is a species of flowering plant in the family Grossulariaceae. It is native to Europe and parts of Asia, and it is widely cultivated for its small, tart berries, which are used in a variety of culinary applications, including jams, jellies, pies, and other baked goods. Black currant plants are small shrubs with three-lobed leaves and clusters of small, black berries that are harvested in the summer. The fruit has a shiny, translucent skin and a juicy, tart flesh. In addition to its culinary uses, black currant has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The berries and leaves of the plant are believed to have various health benefits, including aiding in digestion and providing relief from respiratory problems. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.


Downy Currant: A Delicious and Nutritious Berry

If you're looking for a new berry to add to your fruit repertoire, look no further than the downy currant. This berry, scientifically known as Ribes spicatum, is a native plant to North America and is often found growing in the wild in forested areas. Downy currants are small, juicy, and packed with flavor, making them a great addition to any fruit salad or baked goods recipe.

Aside from being delicious, downy currants are also incredibly nutritious. They are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. These berries also contain small amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and iron. The high levels of antioxidants found in downy currants can help protect the body from damage caused by harmful free radicals and may even help reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

Downy currants are also relatively low in calories, making them a great option for people who are trying to maintain a healthy weight. They are also a good source of carbohydrates, which provide the body with energy, and are a great option for athletes or anyone who is physically active.

When it comes to cooking with downy currants, there are a variety of ways to use them. They can be used in baked goods, such as muffins or pies, or added to smoothies for an extra burst of flavor. They are also delicious when added to fruit salads or eaten on their own as a healthy snack.

If you're looking to add more downy currants to your diet, they can typically be found in specialty food stores or farmers markets during the summer months. If you're unable to find them in your area, they can also be purchased online.

Downy currants are a delicious and nutritious berry that should be added to your diet. They are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, and are also low in calories. Whether you're adding them to your smoothie or baked goods, downy currants are sure to bring a burst of flavor to your meals.

Growing Downy Currants in Your Own Garden

If you're interested in growing your own downy currants, they are relatively easy to grow and maintain. Downy currants are a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soil types and are well adapted to temperate climates. They are also relatively low maintenance, and once established, require little care.

Downy currants prefer well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter and should be planted in an area with full sun or partial shade. They are also tolerant of frost and can grow in areas with cold winters.

When planting downy currants, it's important to choose a location that provides good air circulation to prevent the growth of fungal diseases. The plants should also be spaced at least 4-6 feet apart to allow for adequate air flow and to prevent overcrowding.

Downy currants should be watered regularly, especially during dry periods, to ensure they receive the moisture they need to grow and produce fruit. They should also be fertilized regularly with a balanced fertilizer to encourage healthy growth and fruit production.

Harvesting Downy Currants

Downy currants are typically ready to be harvested in late summer or early fall, depending on the growing conditions in your area. When the berries are ripe, they will be plump and juicy and will have a deep, dark color.

When harvesting downy currants, it's important to pick them gently so as not to damage the plant or the remaining berries. They can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or can be frozen for later use.

In summary, downy currants are a great option for anyone looking to add a delicious and nutritious berry to their diet. Whether you're growing them in your own garden or purchasing them from a local farmer's market, downy currants are sure to be a hit with everyone who tries them.

Downy Currant and its Medicinal Properties

Not only are downy currants delicious and nutritious, but they also have a number of medicinal properties that make them a great addition to any natural remedies cabinet.

Downy currants have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of health conditions. For example, they have been used to help treat colds and flu by boosting the immune system. The high levels of vitamin C found in downy currants are thought to be responsible for this immune-boosting effect.

In addition to their immune-boosting properties, downy currants have also been used to help treat digestive problems. They are believed to have a soothing effect on the digestive system and can help to reduce symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal cramps.

Another medicinal property of downy currants is their ability to help reduce inflammation. The high levels of antioxidants found in these berries are believed to help reduce the production of pro-inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis and heart disease.

Downy currants can also help improve heart health. The high levels of potassium found in these berries are thought to help regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the high levels of antioxidants found in downy currants are believed to help protect the heart and blood vessels from damage caused by harmful free radicals.

It's important to note that while downy currants do have a number of medicinal properties, they should not be used as a substitute for conventional medical treatment. If you have a serious health condition, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional.

In conclusion, downy currants are a delicious, nutritious, and medicinal berry that are worth adding to your diet. Whether you're using them to add flavor to your recipes, to boost your immune system, or to treat digestive problems, downy currants are a great option for anyone looking to improve their health and wellbeing.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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