South Dakota Native Plant Research
Grossulariaceae : Ribes aureum var. villosum

Grossulariaceae : Ribes aureum var. villosum


Download Seed: Ribies seed after fruit was removed. (55 KB)

Download Vegetative: The bright green leaves are 2-5 cm long. (3.0 MB)

Download Leaves and flowers (2.4 MB)

Download Stems (3.0 MB)

Download Flowering: The flowers are trumpet-shaped. (1.0 MB)

Download Fruiting: The fruit of the golden current is a berry. (1.2 MB)

Download Mature Plant (1.2 MB)

Download Ripening fruit (765 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Buffalo current, Golden currant

Native American Name

Lakota: wičhágnaška hú


Ribes aureum var. villosum is a perennial woody shrub, erect to arching main stems are 1-2 long, the younger stems and branches light brown, darkening with age. The stems are unarmed. The alternate, simple leaves develop directly on the branches of the current year and in clusters on projections from older stems. The leaf petioles are 2-5 cm long, the blades about the same length, broadly diamond to oval shaped, with 3 main rounded or bluntly pointed lobes, occasionally more, often further divided into shallow lobes. The margins are entire, or with a few blunt to rounded teeth. The inflorescence consists of axillary racemes of 3-8 flowers on peduncles 3-6 mm long. The yellow calyx tube is 10-14 mm long with 5 reflexed lobes, 3-5 mm long and showier than the corolla. The corolla has 5, erect, yellow petals, 2-3.5 mm long, often with all of the petals or their distal ends turning red. There are 5 stamens 1-2 mm long, attached to the hypanthium opposite the sepals. The fruit is a globose berry, 7-9 mm in diameter, greenish yellow and turning black as it matures. Buffalo currant blooms in April and May on dry, open hillsides, along the edges of thickets and streambanks, predominantly in western South Dakota.

Synonym: Ribes odoratum

Additional Notes

Golden currant is a showy shrub that can enhance any native planting. It produces a profusion of bright yellow flowers in the spring that attract native bees. It has long been used horticulturally and many introduced cultivars have escaped and become naturalized throughout South Dakota. The fruit is excellent to eat and attracts birds and small mammals. This species is the alternate host to white pine blister rust.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Pick the fruit when it is ripe and remove the seeds by maceration.

Germination: The seeds are dormant when harvested. Fall sowing or a 90-day cold treatment will encourage germination.

Vegetative propagation: Root suckers are easily divided and transplanted.

Light: Partial shade.

Soil: Well drained sandy soils preferred, but is adaptable to a wide range of garden soils.

Water: Does best with moderately moist soils but tolerates drier conditions

Grossulariaceae : Ribes aureum var. villosum