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Rhododendron macrophyllum  California rose-bay
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Rhododendron macrophyllum

(California rose-bay)

One of the glories of our coastal redwoods forests, this evergreen rhododendron features clusters of large flowers in the spring which can range in color from deep rose to pale pink. Native from the Big Sur Coast north to Washington. In the wild, this open branched, big leaved shrub can reach a height of 13 feet. Plants in the garden tend to be much smaller, not usually exceeding 8 feet with a slightly narrower width. While somewhat temperamental in cultivation, success can be achieved with dappled shade, well draining soil rich in organic matter and moderate to regular water. Deer resistant.
Rhododendron occidentale  western azalea
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Rhododendron occidentale

(western azalea)

A much sought after and admired native deciduous shrub found in moist places and stream banks in many plant communities throughout California.  Leafs out in the spring with bright green foliage on a shrubby framework 3-6 ft. or more tall and wide.  Glorious displays of fragrant azalea flowers in dense terminal clusters appear in late spring and can be pure white to pale pink often with yellow or orange markings.  Needs decent light to bloom well but appreciates light shade, acid soils and regular water. Deer resistant
Rhododendron occidentale x  'Irene Koster'
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Rhododendron occidentale x 'Irene Koster'

A beautiful hybrid Rhododendron involving our western azalea, introduced by a Dutch nursery in 1895. This is a deciduous shrub with massive displays of sweetly scented funnel-shaped blossoms in late spring. The large showy trusses have flower buds with dark-pink stripes that open to a light rose-pink with a splash of yellow-orange on its upper petals. Grows 6 -8 ft. tall by 4 - 6 ft. wide in part shade with regular to moderate watering. Prefers humus rich acidic soils with good drainage. The fragrant flowers attract an array of pollinators including butterflies. Deer resistant.
Rhus aromatica  basket bush
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Rhus aromatica

(basket bush)

An arching, mounding native shrub related to sugar bush and lemonade berry. Early spring brings a profusion of soft yellow flowers followed by orange-red fruits relished by wildlife. The leaves turn shades of yellow, orange and red in the fall. Plant in sun to light shade where it is drought, cold and heat tolerant. Useful addition to the naturalistic garden, as a shrubby groundcover, along seasonally moist streams, and for erosion control. Used by the native people for basketry.
Rhus integrifolia  lemonade berry
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Rhus integrifolia

(lemonade berry)

This sturdy native shrub or small tree is highly valued for its evergreen foliage and as a source of food for birds, bees and butterflies. Round, serrated, leaves, flatter than those of the sugar bush, cover this plant from head to toe. In late winter to early spring, white to pink flower clusters emerge, followed by sticky, reddish fruits. Ranging in height and width from 4 to 20 ft., lemonade berry is very tolerant of pruning, either into a small tree or a low hedge. Cold hardy to about 20 degrees. Plant in full sun to part shade. Will be very drought tolerant once established. Fire resistant. Deer resistant.
Rhus ovata  sugar bush
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Rhus ovata

(sugar bush)

Handsome evergreen shrub native to dry slopes away from the coast in Southern California, Baja, and Arizona. A durable shrub thriving in hot, rocky conditions in full sun to part shade where it will be completely drought tolerant once established. Grows 4 - 10 ft. tall and wide. A profusion of dense flower clusters are rosy tinted in bud opening to white with a pinkish blush. Small reddish fruits follow that are coated with a sugary secretion that tastes lemony. Excellent subject for hot, dry inland conditions. Good for birds, bees and butterflies. Fire resistant. Deer resistant.
Ribes aureum  golden currant
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Ribes aureum

(golden currant)

Tall, spreading, deciduous shrub 6 to 8 ft. tall and wide. Offers light green foliage with delicate clusters of bright yellow flowers in early spring. Adaptable to sun or shade, but best with light shade and moderate to occasional summer water. Tends to spread from suckers and can be controlled with pruning. Berries attract many birds including grosbeak and mockingbirds.
Ribes bracteosum  blue currant
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Ribes bracteosum

(blue currant)

Native from Mendocino County northwards, this deciduous shrub is distinctive for its long, upright inflorescences and large, shiny leaves up to eight inches wide. As many as fifty of the soft orange, saucer-shaped flowers can occur on a single stem in the spring followed by small blue fruits in late summer. In shaded, moist conditions the blue currant can reach a height and width of about six feet but can get larger in cool, wet areas along the coast. Combine with other plants of the redwood forest such as ferns, sorrel and wild ginger.
Ribes californicum  California gooseberry, hillside gooseberry
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Ribes californicum

(California gooseberry, hillside gooseberry)

Undemanding, winter blooming, deciduous shrub, native to Coast Range mountains of California, from Mendocino County south to Orange County. Excellent choice for habitat gardens, where it provides abundant flowers and fruits plus thorny, protective cover. Variable in size, this spiny shrub can grow 4 - 6 ft. tall and wide. The pendant flowers are tiny but numerous and charming on close inspection. The tubular flower parts are white and extend beyond the reflexed red sepals, and are highly attractive to hummingbirds and other pollinators. Red, bristly, globular fruits follow and are adored by birds. The bright green leaves often take on striking crimson colors in the late summer before going dormant with drought. Host plant to several butterfly species as well as the white-lined sphinx moth. Best with light shade and a little irrigation, though once established it is completely drought tolerant.
Ribes cereum  wax currant
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Ribes cereum

(wax currant)

Description coming soon!
Ribes divaricatum var. pubiflorum  spreading gooseberry
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Ribes divaricatum var. pubiflorum

(spreading gooseberry)

Native to coastal scrub, moist woods and shady canyons of the Pacific coast from British Columbia south through much of coastal California. This gooseberry is perhaps the most tasty of all of our native Ribes. The berries have the added benefit of being free of thorns. Forms an arching shrub 3-5 ft. tall and wide with thorns at the leaf nodes. The tiny flowers are composed of reddish sepals and white petals that dangle beneath the branches and are attractive to hummingbirds. The small, blue-black berries are relished by birds. Plant in light shade with some summer moisture. Will tolerate full sun near the coast. Useful as a barrier, hedgerow or habitat plant where it provides excellent food and thorny cover for birds.
Ribes indecorum  white flowered currant
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Ribes indecorum

(white flowered currant)

Native to Southern California chaparral and coastal scrub plant communities from Santa Barbara County to Northern Baja. This vase shaped deciduous shrub features thick, aromatic, scalloped leaves and grows 6 feet or so tall and wide. Small clusters of white flowers cover the stems in November and attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. The fruits that follow are very appealing to birds. Plant in sun to light shade. Little to no summer water is required once established. While this currant is often summer deciduous, a little extra water will help it to retain most of its leaves all year long.
Ribes indecorum  white flowering currant
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Ribes indecorum

(white flowering currant)

Description coming soon!
Ribes malvaceum  chaparral currant
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Ribes malvaceum

(chaparral currant)

Chaparral currant is a tough and durable native shrub 4 to 6 ft. tall. This deciduous shrub will grow in full sun to light shade and is quite drought tolerant. Flowers early, often midwinter with dangling clusters of pink blossoms. Good early nectar source for hummingbirds. Berries attract many birds including grosbeak and mockingbirds.
Ribes malvaceum 'Cupertino Rose' chaparral currant
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Ribes malvaceum 'Cupertino Rose'

(chaparral currant)

Chaparral currant's flowers can range from white to pink to nearly red in color. This selection carries flower clusters that were the darkest to be found in this population from the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mts. west of Cupertino. The buds are dark pink and the dangling racemes when fully open read medium pink. Deciduous shrub 4-6 ft tall and wide with a very early bloom season often beginning in November, which provides an excellent early source of nectar for hummingbirds. The pendulous clusters of berries that follow are relished by birds. Tolerates full sun along the coast with some shade inland and occasional to little summer water. 
Ribes malvaceum 'Dancing Tassels' chaparral currant
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Ribes malvaceum 'Dancing Tassels'

(chaparral currant)

A dazzling selection by Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden from San Clemente Island. Blooming in winter over a long period with the longest dangling flower clusters we’ve seen in the species. Pendulous flower clusters are dusty pink in bud, opening to white and soft pink when fully open. Growing 6 ft. or more tall, this deciduous, vase shaped shrub has gray-green foliage with a pungent resinous fragrance. Peeling red-brown bark and clusters of blue-black berries add to its beauty and appeal. Chaparral currant blooms earlier and is more sun and drought tolerant than the popular pink flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum glutinosum. Plant in full sun to light shade with little to no water once established. An outstanding early nectar source for hummingbirds.
Ribes malvaceum 'Rana White' white chaparral currant
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Ribes malvaceum 'Rana White'

(white chaparral currant)

This unusual form of the chaparral currant has pure white flowers, not the typical pink flowers one normally sees. Forming an erect shrub of true green, aromatic foliage 6 ft. or more tall and wider. Winter and early spring bring short pendant racemes of the fragrant white flowers that are highly attractive to hummingbirds and pollinators. Clusters of sticky berries follow and are relished by birds. Though it will tolerate garden conditions, this currant is extremely drought tolerant once established. When allowed to go dry, this well-adapted species drops its leaves in late summer and leafs out again in late autumn. Moderate irrigation can make it almost evergreen. Plant in full sun to light shade. This species can be found throughout much of California in chaparral and on the edges of woodlands. Introduced by Rana Nursery.
Ribes malvaceum var. viridifolium 'Ortega Beauty' chaparral currant
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Ribes malvaceum var. viridifolium 'Ortega Beauty'

(chaparral currant)

Description coming soon!
Ribes menziesii  canyon gooseberry
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Ribes menziesii

(canyon gooseberry)

A gooseberry of low elevation forests, growing to around 5-8 ft. tall with an open, arching habit. Bright green scalloped leaves with pale undersides are set on spiny stems. The charming flowers are small but sweet, with maroon sepals and white petals dangling beneath the thorny branches offering nectar to hummingbirds. The spiny red fruits that follow are decorative and attractive to birds. Often found on the edge or in openings of forests, the canyon gooseberry does best with light shade. It is drought tolerant especially near the coast, though it appreciates occasional summer water. An excellent habitat plant that provides shelter and food for a wide variety of birds.  
Ribes nevadense  Sierra currant
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Ribes nevadense

(Sierra currant)

Description coming soon!
Ribes odoratum 'Crandall' clove-scented currant
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Ribes odoratum 'Crandall'

(clove-scented currant)

Native to the Midwest and high plains this shrub looks similar to our native Ribes aureum. Growing 4 - 6 ft. tall and wide with light green, lobed leaves on spineless branches. Fragrant yellow flower clusters have a spicy carnation-like fragrance and are followed by abundant and flavorful black fruits. The rich, sweet-tart fruits are similar to the European black currant and can be used in jams and jellies. Eye-catching red leaves in the fall. Plant in full sun to partial shade with moderate to occasional summer water.
Ribes roezlii  Sierra gooseberry
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Ribes roezlii

(Sierra gooseberry)

The Sierra gooseberry's natural range is far beyond the Sierras, with varieties growing in the mountains of northern, southern and central California. Forms an arching shrub of thorny branches with pretty, little scalloped leaves, 2 - 4 ft. tall and wide. Pendant flowers are made up of burgundy-red sepals and small white to pink petals with protruding stamens, looking something like miniature fuchsias. Custom built for hummingbirds. In spring, showy, rounded fruits covered with prickles follow the flowers, starting out green and ripening to red, spiny globes which are relished by birds. This charming shrub is a lovely addition to the woodland garden where they receive light to moderate shade and are drought tolerant once established. Needs good drainage.
Ribes sanguineum v. glutinosum 'Cal Flora White' white flowering current
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Ribes sanguineum v. glutinosum 'Cal Flora White'

(white flowering current)

A Cal Flora Nursery original, a chance seedling in our nursery landscape. We watched this seedling develop into an elegant, eight foot, vase shaped shrub. The five inch pendulous racemes dangle from the branch tips and are pure white. Give flowering currants light or part shade except along the immediate coast where they grow in full sun. Moderate to occasional water once established. Hummingbird and bumblebee favorite. Birds enjoy the fruits.  
Ribes sanguineum v. glutinosum 'Claremont' pink flowering currant
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Ribes sanguineum v. glutinosum 'Claremont'

(pink flowering currant)

Distinctive for its extra long, pendulous racemes of pink flowers with white centers. This Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden selection of the pink flowering currant is particularly vigorous, featuring abundant floral displays in early spring. Will attain a height and spread of 6 - 8 ft over time.  Best with light shade and a little summer water. Important early nectar source for bumblebees and hummingbirds. Berries attract many birds including grosbeak and mockingbirds.
Ribes sanguineum v. glutinosum 'Heart's Delight' pink flowering currant
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Ribes sanguineum v. glutinosum 'Heart's Delight'

(pink flowering currant)

A coastal Marin County selection of one of the West's choicest native shrubs. Deciduous, grows 6 ft. tall or more. In early spring it produces long drooping racemes of deep rosy-pink blossoms. Best with light shade inland, humusy soil and some summer water. Hummingbirds love the flowers and the berries attract many birds including robins, grosbeak and mockingbirds.

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