Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Ribes americanum


SPECIES: Ribes americanum
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Marshall, K. Anna. 1995. Ribes americanum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : RIBAME SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : RIAM2 COMMON NAMES : American black currant black currant eastern black currant wild black currant TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for American black currant is Ribes americanum Miller [13]. It is a member of the gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae). There are no recognized infrataxa [13,43]. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ribes americanum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : The distribution of American black currant ranges east of the Rocky Mountains from Alberta east to Nova Scotia, south to Delaware, west through northern Illinois to Nebraska, and south to New Mexico [13,16,17,23]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White-red-jack pine FRES11 Spruce-fir FRES15 Oak-hickory FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood FRES18 Maple-beech-birch FRES19 Aspen-birch FRES21 Ponderosa pine STATES : CO CT DE IL IN IA ME MD MA MI MN MT NE NY NJ NH NM ND OH PA RI SD VT VA WV WI WY AB MB NB NS ON PQ SK BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 10 Wyoming Basin 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K017 Black Hills pine forest K093 Great Lakes spruce-fir forest K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce-fir forest K099 Maple-basswood forest K101 Elm-ash forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods-fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods-spruce forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 14 Northern pin oak 15 Red pine 16 Aspen 17 Pin cherry 20 White pine-northern red oak-red maple 21 Eastern white pine 25 Sugar maple-beech-yellow birch 26 Sugar maple-basswood 27 Sugar maple 28 Black cherry-maple 31 Red spruce-sugar maple-beech 33 Red spruce-balsam fir 35 Paper birch-red spruce-balsam fir 37 Northern white-cedar 39 Black ash-American elm-red maple 42 Bur oak 53 White oak 55 Northern red oak 55 Northern red oak 60 Beech-sugar maple 62 Silver maple-American elm 63 Cottonwood 108 Red maple 109 Hawthorn 110 Black oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : In addition to the plant associations and cover types listed in preceding slots, American black currant occurs in prairie marshes in southern Manitoba [21]. In Custer National Forest, Montana, American black currant occurs in the green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)/ chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) habitat type and silver buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea) and western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis) community types [15]. In Michigan and Minnesota, American black currant is an invasive shrub in sedge (Carex spp.) meadows [33]. In northern Michigan, American black currant is a minor shrub in alder (Alnus spp.) swamps [25].


SPECIES: Ribes americanum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : On a burned site in northwestern Minnesota, moose consumed American black currant forage during April and May of postfire year 2. American black currant comprised 7 percent of browsed twigs or stems. It was not selected in preference to other shrub species [19]. The fruit of Ribes spp. is a valuable food source for songbirds, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and other animals [22]. PALATABILITY : The palatability of American black currant to wildlife in some western states is rated as follows [7]: Pronghorn fair Elk fair Mule deer fair Small mammals good Small nongame birds good Upland game birds fair Waterfowl poor NUTRITIONAL VALUE : The fruit of American black currant is low in lipids and high in sugars [38]. COVER VALUE : Cover values for American black currant are rated as follows [7]: UT WY Pronghorn ---- fair Elk ---- fair Mule deer fair fair Small mammals ---- good Small nongame birds ---- good Upland game birds ---- fair Waterfowl ---- poor VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : The fruit of American black currant is used for making jam, jelly and pie. American black currant is cultivated as an ornamental [26]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : American black currant is an alternate host for white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) which infests five-needled pines. Because of their association with the rust, Ribes spp. have been the targets of various eradication efforts; however, these efforts have had some success only in the Great Lake States [14,24].


SPECIES: Ribes americanum
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : American black currant is a native, deciduous shrub growing from 3.3 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m) tall [16]. Its many erect branches lack spines [9,13,16]. The three- to five-lobed, suborbicular leaves are 1.2 to 3.2 inches (3-8 cm) wide and gland-dotted beneath [8,13,16,17]. Drooping racemes are five- to ten-flowered [13,16]. The globose berries are smooth and contain many seeds [13,16,38]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : American black currant reproduces mainly by seed. The ability of American black currant to sprout from the root crown has not been described in the literature. Shrubs of Ribes spp. begin fruiting after 3 years [4]. Many seeds fall beneath the parent plant; they are also dispersed by birds and mammals [35,36]. Mineral soil and scarification generally enhance germination in Ribes spp. [35,36,44]. Results of germination experiments on American black currant are variable. In Montana, no germination was obtained when American black currant fruit was fermented, aerated for 2 weeks, flailed mechanically in water, and washed on screens [9]. In Dun County, Wisconsin, seeds were obtained from green berries, almost-mature berries, and mature berries. They were refrigerated for 6 months, soaked in water for 10 days, and placed on moist blotting paper at 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 deg C). After 13 months, only one seed, from a "mature" berry, had germinated [11]. A germination rate of 76 percent was obtained by stratifying American black currant seeds at 28 and 36 degrees Fahrenheit (-2.2-2.2 deg C) for 90 to 120 days. Seeds were stratified and germinated in sand moistened with nutrient solution [26]. Hoyle [18] reported that chilling American black currant seeds at 38.3 degrees Fahrenheit (3.5 deg C) for 15 weeks promoted germination. Fallen seeds of Ribes spp. may remain viable in the soil and duff for many years [35,36]. The viability of American black currant seeds from herbarium specimens 3 to 9 years old was tested. Fourteen seeds were extracted and planted in peat at 40 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (10-25 deg C) daily alternation. No seeds had germinated by the fourteenth week. Drying Ribes seeds may induce dormancy [11]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : American black currant has wide ecological amplitude. It occurs in swamps [17,25], in moist woods and canyons [9,17,23], along roadsides, and on plains, foothills, and mountains [9,16,39,42]. It grows on clayey, sandy, and rocky soils [9,39,42]. In Colorado, the elevational range of American black currant is 3,500 to 8,000 feet (1,050-2,400 m) [16]. On the Pine Ridge escarpments in Nebraska, American black currant occurs from 2,500 to 4,500 feet (750-1,350 m) [39]. The Pine Ridge escarpments receive an average annual rainfall of approximately 18 inches (45.72 cm), and summer drought is frequent. The average frost-free period is 145 to 150 days [39]. On the eastern edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where American black currant occurs in alder swamps, climate is continental with modification by Lake Superior. The average annual rainfall is 31 inches (780 mm). The average annual snowfall is 96 inches (2,500 mm). The average summer temperature is 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 deg C), and the mean frost-free period is 116 days [25]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : American black currant is somewhat shade tolerant. It often grows in moist forests [9,13,16,23]. In Long Grove, Illinois, American black currant grows in closed canopied woodlands [2]. In Minnesota, very dense balsam fir (Abies balsamea) or northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis) overstories suppress Ribes spp. [3]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : American black currant flowers May through June [23], and seed ripens from mid-August through early September [9]. Near Woodworth Stutsman County, North Dakota, Callow and others [6] recorded the following phenological dates for American black currant from 1979 to 1984: earliest first bloom 5/12/80 latest first bloom 6/06/79 median date of first 10 plants with flowers 5/18 median date of full flowering 5/21 median date when flowering was 95% complete 6/9 mean length of flowering period 22 days


SPECIES: Ribes americanum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Fire ecology of American black currant is not described in the literature. Although many authors discuss the effect of fire on Ribes spp., most refer to studies conducted by Quick [30,31]. Quick described postfire seedling establishment by Sierra Nevada gooseberry (R. roezli). In northeastern Minnesota, skunk currant (R. glandulosa), like American black currant, grows on moist to wet sites [13]. Skunk currant seedlings established during postfire years 1 and 2 on sites where low-severity wildfire or prescribed fire had occurred. By postfire year 5, skunk currant had begun to decline [1]. American black currant regeneration is probably favored by fire because scarification of soil-stored seed generally enhances germination in Ribes spp. [35,36]. The ability of American black currant to sprout after fire is not described in the literature. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Ribes americanum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire probably severely damages or kills American black currant. On Reed Turner Nature Preserve in Long Grove, Illinois, fall prescribed fires were conducted in closed canopy woodlands. Fuel loads before the fire were 550 grams per square meter. In postfire year 1, American black currant decreased in importance by more than 50 percent [2]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : In northwestern Minnesota, American black currant was observed growing on a burned site in postfire year 2. It is not clear whether American black currant had sprouted or established from seed [19]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ribes americanum
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