Ribes Sanguineum or Flowering Currant
The name of the genus is derived from the Arabic word ribas or riwas, meaning sour fruit or rhubarb, obviously in reference to the tartness of the fruits of most species. The genus contains some 150 species found chiefly in the cooler regions of the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. Only a few are native to the southern hemisphere, being found in the Andes foothills from the north to southern Patagonia.
Flowering currant is particularly striking during the flowering period in March and April when it is covered with showy drooping clusters or red blossoms. A deciduous shrub 1.5 to 3m (5 to 10 ft) high, it is a native of California and was introduced into Europe by Douglas in 1826. A number of forms and varieties are grown in gardens, differing chiefly in the colour of their blooms. These include albidum hort., white; astrosanguineum, dark carmine-red; ‘Atrorubens Select’ and ‘King Edward VII’, both dark red; ‘Pulborough Scarlet’, a deep scarlet, and plenum with double.
Flowering currant is propagated by softwood and hardwood cuttings taken before the onset of severe frosts. It has no particularrequirements but requires a sunny situation. It is a good choice for small gardens and parks both as a solitary specimen and in group plantings and can be used for screens or even hedges.