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Canadian gooseberry

Scientific Name:
Ribes oxyacanthoides
Native Name(s):
  1. Northern Paiute: Mogu'tsiabui (Kelly 1932)
  2. Pit River: loklopi (Garth 1953); pópupi (Garth 1953)
  3. Klamath: Lhō-lō'-ē-säm (Coville 1897)


Ribes oxyacanthoides is a shrub that grows up to 1.5 m tall. Three to five-lobed leaves are clustered at the ends of short branches. The plant produces greenish-white flowers. Summer fruits are juicy, and range in color from red to purple, sometimes appearing nearly black. Fruits are 6 to 10 mm in diameter and contain numerous seeds. When fresh, fruits are globose to ellipsoid with remnant dried petals often remaining at the distal end. Ribes oxycanthoides seeds are small and brown, elongated obovate to reniform in shape, and range in size from 1 to 3 millimeters. This species blooms from May to June.

Identification Tips

Ribes oxyacanthoides can be distinguished from other species of Ribes by their thorny stems and greenish-white flowers.

Starch granules

This species is starch deficient. No granules were observed from seeds or fruits. 


This species grows at elevations up to 2700 m often along stream banks and rocky slopes.


Ribes oxyacanthoides are distributed across the northern states and throughout Canada.


Ribes oxyacanthoides is utilized by many Native groups, the fruits are consumed raw or dried.

As food

Northern Paiute: "Mogu'tsiabui (gooseberry; mogu', thorn), boko'pe (wild currant), and atsa'pui (Ribes cereum Dougl.) were eaten fresh and uncooked." (Kelly 1932:100)

Pit River: "Huckleberries (an·anyats), gooseberries (loklopi or pópupi), currants (pí'sudir), buckthorn berries (yuhaiup) (Rhamnus rubra), hEstĭkida (rolled between two rocks to take the spines off) (Ribes roezlii) were all berries which were gathered and eaten while fresh." (Garth 1953:139)

Klamath: "Lhō-lō'-ē-säm.- The only gooseberry of the region, and locally known as such among the white people.  It is a common shrub in moist bottom lands among willows and other bushes, bear a smooth, reddish amber-colored berry 6 to 10 mm (one-fourth to two-fifths of an inch) in diameter, with a faint bloom or glaucousness and a pleasant, slightly acid taste.  It is eaten fresh or dried by the Indians, and among white people also is a favorite berry." (Coville 1897:97)


Distribution Map: