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Products > Ribes viburnifolium
Ribes viburnifolium - Catalina Currant
Image of Ribes viburnifolium
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Grossulariaceae (Gooseberries or Currants)
Origin: Baja California (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Rose Pink
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
Ribes viburnifolium (Catalina Currant) - A typically open wide spreading evergreen shrub that grows 3-4 feet tall (a bit taller with support) and spreading to 6 feet wide. It has thin dark red stems bearing ovate 1-inch-wide aromatic leathery dark green leaves on stems arching up and out from the center of the plant. The small rose pink star-shaped flowers held in open cluster appear in late winter to mid spring.

Plant in sun (with irrigation) or light shade along coast to shade inland. It is quite tolerant of clay soil and requires little or no supplemental water in summer months, making it a great native shrub candidate for planting underneath an oak canopy. We have several such stands on our nursery that we never irrigate, and they continue to look stunning, even after the 5 years of drought from 2011-16. This plant is reliably root hardy to around 10 F (some note even a bit lower). Catalina Currant is a great ornamental shrub for the garden either left to grow open and loose or tipped back to make a denser plant. Its edible berries are attractive to birds, though its foliage is noted as not being particularly attractive to deer. Trim back the tips to promote a bushier plant or leave loose.

Catalina Currant is native to Santa Catalina Island and extreme coastal southern California into Baja California, where it can be found growing in full to part shade. It is considered to be a rare and endangered plant in the wild. The name Ribes comes from the Syrian or Kurdish 'ribas', a name for other plants in this genus and the specific epithet means "leaves like Viburnum". Other common names include Viburnumleaf Currant, Catalina Perfume and Evergreen Currant. We also grow a form that we introduced in 1998 with denser growth and broader leaves that comes from the mainland near the US and Mexico border - we named this form Ribes viburnifolium 'Spooner's Mesa'

This information about Ribes viburnifolium displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.