Gooseberry Family

Hillside Gooseberry © KKorbholz

Grossulariaceae (GRAW-su-lar-ee-AY-see-ee)

Iconic Features

  • Shrubs with clustered, palmate leaves
  • Pendant flowers with petal-like sepals
  • Fruit a berry

Description (Jepson)

  • Eudicotyledons (eudicots) – a major lineage of flowering plants including most plants traditionally described as dicots and generally characterized by
    • 2 seed leaves (dicotyledon)
    • Netted (reticulate) leaf venation
    • Flower parts in fours and fives
    • Pollen grains with 3 pores (tricolpate)
    • Vascular bundles in stem arranged in a ring
    • Taproot system
  • Plants are shrubs, usually deciduous
  • Divided into 2 major groups
    • Gooseberries have spines
    • Currants lack spines
  • Leaves
    • Simple (not divided into leaflets); usually palmately lobed (lobes radiating from a single point)
    • Alternate (1 leaf at each junction with stem) and generally clustered
  • Flowers
    • Inflorescence (flower arrangement) a usually pendent raceme (unbranched stem with stalked flowers opening from the bottom up), at the leaf axil (branching point)
    • Bisexual, radially symmetrical flowers
    • Sepals (usually green, outer flower parts), petals, and stamens (male flower parts) fused at base into a cup-like structure (hypanthium)
    • Ovary inferior (below the attachment of other flower parts)
  • Fruit a translucent berry (a usually multi-seeded fruit with a fleshy ovary wall), some with spines, often used in cooking and baking


  • Family of a single genus (Ribes)
    • Consists of approximately 120 species of gooseberries and currants
    • Found in the northern hemisphere and temperate South America
  • Scientific name from the former genus Grossularia (now included in the genus Ribes), from the French groseille, “gooseberry”
  • Represented by 4 species at Edgewood

See General References

Browse Some Edgewood Plants in this Family