Coastal Black Gooseberry (Ribes divaricatum)

Grossularia divaricata. Steud.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Coastal Black Gooseberry
Ribes divaricatum

The roots have been boiled with cedar (Juniperus spp, Thuja sp.) and wild rose (Rosa spp) roots, then pounded and woven into rope[257].

The sharp thorns have been used as probes for boils, for removing splinters and for tattooing[257].

  • Medicinal Use

    The inner bark has been chewed, and the juice swallowed, as a treatment for colds and sore throats[257].

    A decoction of the bark or the root has been used as an eye wash for sore eyes[257]. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of sore throats, venereal disease and tuberculosis[257].

    The burnt stems have been rubbed on neck sores[257].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[2, 3, 61, 118, 257]. Sweet and juicy[183]. A very acceptable flavour, though a bit on the acid side[K]. It is considered to be one of the finest wild N. American gooseberries[183]. The fruit is sometimes harvested before it is fully ripe and then cooked[256]. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter[200]. On the wild species the fruit can hang on the plant until the autumn (if the birds leave it alone)[K].

    Young leaves and unripe fruits are used to make a sauce[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 4 – 5 months cold stratification at between 0 to 9¡c and should be sown as early in the year as possible[113, 164]. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year’s growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors[78, 200].
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality[11, 200]. Requires a very sunny position if it is to do well[11]. Plants are hardy to about -20¡c[200]. This species is closely allied to R. rotundifolium[11]. Immune to mildew[101], this species is a parent of many mildew resistant hybrids and is being used in breeding programmes in Europe[200]. Plants can harbour a stage of white pine blister rust, so should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees[155]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. Sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, there is at least one named variety[183].
Western N. America.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.