Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Ribes montigenum


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

ABBREVIATION : RIBMON SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : RIMO2 COMMON NAMES : gooseberry currant mountain gooseberry subalpine prickly currant western prickly gooseberry TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for gooseberry currant is Ribes montigenum McClatchie. It is a member of the gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae). There are no recognized infrataxa [17,19]. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ribes montigenum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : The distribution of gooseberry currant ranges from British Columbia east to central Montana, south to New Mexico, and west to the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range [6,14,16,44,45]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES23  Fir-spruce    FRES26  Lodgepole pine    FRES29  Sagebrush    FRES34  Chaparral-mountain shrub    FRES44  Alpine STATES :      AZ  CA  CO  ID  MT  NV  NM  OR  UT  WA      WY  AB  BC BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     2  Cascade Mountains     4  Sierra Mountains     5  Columbia Plateau     6  Upper Basin and Range     7  Lower Basin and Range     8  Northern Rocky Mountains     9  Middle Rocky Mountains    10  Wyoming Basin    11  Southern Rocky Mountains    12  Colorado Plateau KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K004  Fir-hemlock forest    K008  Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest    K015  Western spruce-fir forest    K020  Spruce-fir-Douglas-fir forest    K021  Southwestern spruce-fir forest    K037  Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub    K038  Great Basin sagebrush    K052  Alpine meadows and barren    K055  Sagebrush steppe SAF COVER TYPES :    206  Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir    208  Whitebark pine    209  Bristlecone pine    211  White fir    213  Grand fir    216  Blue spruce    218  Lodgepole pine    219  Limber pine    220  Rocky Mountain juniper    256  California mixed subalpine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES :    108  Alpine Idaho fescue    213  Alpine grassland    322  Curlleaf mountain-mahogany-bluebunch wheatgrass    402  Mountain big sagebrush    409  Tall forb    410  Alpine rangeland    411  Aspen woodland    415  Curlleaf mountain-mahogany    416  True mountain-mahogany    417  Littleleaf mountain-mahogany HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Gooseberry currant occurs in subalpine forests and extends into alpine communities throughout the West. In addition to the plant associations and cover types listed in preceding slots, gooseberry currant occurs in the gooseberry currant/slender wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus) habitat type in Six Mile Canyon, central Utah.  Associated grass species include California brome (Bromus carinatus) and Letterman needlegrass (Stipa lettermanii) [33]. Species associated with gooseberry currant but not previously mentioned include:  Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum), serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Oregon-grape (Mahonia repens), sedge (Carex spp.), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.), field horsetail (Equisetum arvense), strawberry (Fragaria spp.), common juniper (Juniperus communis), woodrush (Luzula spp.), pachistima (Pachistima myrsinites), sickletop lousewort (Pedicularis racemosa), bluegrass (Poa spp.), skunkleaf polemonium (Polemonium pulcherrimum), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), bittercherry (P. emarginata), white spiraea (Spiraea betulifolia), snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.), huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), and beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) [1,2,7,23,24,29,35]. Gooseberry currant is listed as a dominant understory species in the following publications:   Fire ecology of the forest habitat types of eastern Idaho and western     Wyoming [5]   Coniferous forest habitat types of northern Utah [23]   Aspen community types of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in     south-central Colorado [29]   Coniferous forest habitat types of the Wind River Mountains, Wyoming [35]   Forest habitat types of the South Warner Mountains, Modoc County,     California [36]


SPECIES: Ribes montigenum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : The fruit of Ribes spp. is a valuable food source for songbirds, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and other animals [22]. PALATABILITY : Gooseberry currant is not very palatable to livestock [8,11].  In Ephraim Canyon on the Wasatch Plateau, Utah, domestic sheep browsed gooseberry currant only a little or not at all.  Observations were made in a 9-acre pasture for 2 consecutive years in July while a variety of other forage species were available [11].  Dittberner and Olson [8] rate the palatability of gooseberry currant in Utah as poor for cattle and horses and good for sheep. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Currants (Ribes spp.) contain high concentrations of mono- and disaccharides [48]. COVER VALUE : Cover values for gooseberry currant are as follows [8]:                               UT            WY Pronghorn                    poor          poor Elk                          poor          poor Mule deer                    poor          fair White-tailed deer            ----          poor Small mammals                fair          good Small nongame birds          fair          good Upland game birds            fair          good Waterfowl                    poor          poor VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Gooseberry currant can be used to revegetate disturbed mountain areas. Plummer [47] rated the suitability of gooseberry currant for restoring high-elevation mountain environments as follows:         seed establishment good         transplant establishment very good         seed production                         medium         natural seed spread medium         vegetative spread good         growth rate medium         soil stability good         adaptation to disturbance good OTHER USES AND VALUES : Currants (Ribes spp.) can be used for making jam, jelly, or pie [28]. Some western Indian tribes used currants for making pemmican [26]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Gooseberry 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 not been successful in the western states [15,27].


SPECIES: Ribes montigenum
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Gooseberry currant is a native, deciduous shrub growing from 0.6 to 3.3 feet (0.2-1 m) tall.  Its many low, straggling branches are bristly. The orbicular, five-lobed leaves are 0.4 to 1.6 inches (1-4 cm) long, at least as wide, and glandular-pubescent on both sides.  Drooping racemes are three- to eight-flowered.  The smooth, globose berries are 0.2 to 0.4 inch (5-10 mm) in diameter and contain numerous seeds [6,10,14,16,45]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Gooseberry currant reproduces vegetatively and by seed. Neither the root system of gooseberry currant nor its ability to sprout from the root crown after fire or disturbance is described in the literature; however, on the Wasatch Plateau, Utah, Ellison [11] observed gooseberry currant forming adventitious roots.  Decumbent outer branches partially covered by earth were rooting.  The plants were spreading outward and dying in the center, forming a clonal ring.  The rings were sometimes 15 to 20 feet (4.5-6.1 m) in diameter. Ribes spp. generally begin fruiting after 3 years [3].  Many seeds fall beneath the parent plant; they are also dispersed by birds and animals. Fallen seeds of Ribes spp. may remain viable in the soil and duff for many years [38,39]. Mineral soil and scarification generally enhance germination in Ribes spp. [38,39,46].  In the laboratory, a 53 percent germination was obtained without scarification by stratifying gooseberry currant seeds at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 deg C) for 200 to 300 days.  Seeds were stratified and germinated in sand moistened with nutrient solution [28]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Gooseberry currant occurs on a variety of sites.  It is found in dry, rocky places from the middle subalpine zone to timberline, sometimes extending into alpine communities.  It grows on open, talus or scree slopes, on ridges, and in boulder fields, meadows, and forests [5,16,25,42,45].  It may also occur along streams and in wet forests, ravines, and washes [10,23].  Gooseberry currant occurs on loamy or clayey soils that contain gravel [7,23,40].  In northern Utah, habitat types in which gooseberry currant occurs have an average litter depth of 1.2 to 2.9 inches (3-7.4 cm) [23].  In central Idaho, average litter depth where gooseberry currant occurs may reach 2 inches (5 cm) [40]. Where gooseberry currant occurs in the Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii)-bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) series in New Mexico, climate is at the cold extreme for forests.  The mean annual air temperature is 34 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit (1-2 deg C), and the mean soil temperature is 33 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 deg C).  The growing season for forest plants is less than 110 days [24]. Elevational ranges for gooseberry currant are as follows:                     feet   meters California [17] 6,930-15,840         2,100-4,800 Colorado [16]         7,500-11,500            2,273-3,485 central Idaho [40] 8,400- 9,800            2,545-2,970 Utah [45] 7,046-12,078 2,135-3,660 SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Gooseberry currant is somewhat shade tolerant.  It grows in dense forests with few canopy openings, but it occurs most often and grows most vigorously on sites without forest canopy.  In the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, gooseberry currant occurred in the understory of spruce (Picea spp.)-fir (Abies spp.) forests but its average cover was less than 1 percent [7].  In the Crested Butte area of west-central Colorado, gooseberry currant was the most common tall shrub in dense spruce-fir forests, occurring throughout the understory with a constancy of 72 percent and an average cover of 4 percent.  In canopy openings it formed thickets [21].  Near timberline in Colorado and Utah, gooseberry currant formed a dense fringe around spruce and fir "tree islands" [11,18,21,23]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Gooseberry currant flowers from late June to August [6,28].  Fruit ripens from August to September [28].


SPECIES: Ribes montigenum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : The fire ecology of gooseberry 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 [31,32].  Quick described postfire seedling establishment by Sierra Nevada gooseberry (R. roezli). Gooseberry currant regeneration is probably favored by fire because scarification of soil-stored seed generally enhances germination in Ribes spp. [5,38,39].  The ability of gooseberry currant to sprout from the root crown after fire is described in the literature as "variable" [5,6]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Ribes montigenum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire probably kills most gooseberry currant. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : In New Mexico spruce-fir forests and Utah tall shrub communities, gooseberry currant was described as a dominant early seral species after fire [9,11].  The origin of gooseberry currant (seedlings or sprouts) in postfire communities was not described. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : The Research Project Summary Vegetation response to restoration treatments in ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests of western Montana provides information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including gooseberry currant, that was not available when this species review was written. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : In south-central Colorado quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)/gooseberry currant communities may be prescribe burned in the fall to encourage quaking aspen regeneration.  Many of the community's undergrowth plants have high or moderate fire resistance and a postfire community "quickly" resembles the prefire one [29].


SPECIES: Ribes montigenum
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