The fresh leaves contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide, though details of quantities are not given
. This substance is found in several foods, including almonds. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Fruit - raw or cooked
. The fruit is often picked when under-ripe and very firm, it has a very tart flavour at this time and is mainly used in making pies, jams etc. However, if the fruit is allowed to remain on the plant until it is fully ripe and soft it becomes quite sweet and is delicious for eating out of hand[K]. The fruit of the wild species is often less than 1cm in diameter, but named cultivars have considerably larger fruits up to 3cm in diameter[K].
Leaves- raw. The young and tender leaves can be eaten in salads
. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
The fruit pulp is used cosmetically in face-masks for its cleansing effect on greasy skins
The fruit is laxative
. Stewed unripe gooseberries are used as a spring tonic to cleanse the system
The leaves have been used in the treatment of gravel. An infusion taken before the monthly periods is said to be a useful tonic for growing girls.
The leaves contain tannin and have been used as an astringent to treat dysentery and wounds
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification at between 0 and 5°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible
. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year's growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Ribes uva-crispa. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality
. Growth is often poor in light soils, whilst heavy soils encourage soft growth and excess vigour
. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 6.5
, though it can grow well in more acid or alkaline soils[K]. It is important to add plenty of humus to chalky soil[K]. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position
. They can be grown against east or north facing walls
. The fruit of plants on north facing walls will ripen later, thus extending the fruiting season, though yields will be lower[K]. Plants dislike very hot weather
Dormant plants are hardy to about -20°c, but the flowers and young fruits are susceptible to frost damage
Plants are very susceptible to potash deficiency, especially when grown on alkaline soils[K].
Gooseberries are commonly cultivated in temperate regions for their edible fruit, there are many named varieties. Birds love the fruit and so some protection is often required, especially if the fruit is being grown to full ripeness[K]. Plants grow best in cool moist climates such as N. Europe.
Plants fruit best on one and two year old wood so any pruning should be to encourage vigorous new shoots.
Plants can harbour a stage of white pine blister rust, so should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees
. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Ribes uva-crispa. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Ribes uva-crispa.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
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? 8.08.1 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
? 10.010.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
? 11.011.111.211.311.411.511.611.711.811.9 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? 12.012.112.2 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
? 13.013.1 Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
? Arnberger. L. P. Flowers of the Southwest Mountains. Southwestern Monuments Ass. (1968-00-00)
? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
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