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Black Gooseberries

The Black Gooseberry bush is a small shrub growing anywhere from 1 1/2 feet to a yard (1/2 to 1 metre) tall, with small but sharp thorns. It is hardy down to -4 F / -20 C, and prefers to grow in wetlands.

It has glossy, dark green leaves about 1 1/2 inches wide (4 cm) that look a bit like leaves from maple trees. It produces small pinkish flowers and then clusters of 7 to 15 dark purple berries each about 1/5 inch (5 mm) wide. The berries have soft hairs on them.

The berries have an unpleasant odour when first crushed. Some find the fruit edible, pronouncing it juicy and tart, suitable for being cooked up as a sauce or made into a preserve. Others say you could only think it was edible if your taste buds had been afflicted by an unfortunate childhood accident.

History Notes

Black Gooseberries are native to North America as far south as Massachusetts and California.

Language Notes

The Montagnais Indians called the berry "cohosh".

In the scientific name, "Ribes lacustre", "lacustre" means "growing by lakes".


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Also called:

Bristly Black Currant; Prickly Black Currant; Swamp Gooseberries; Ribes lacustre (Scientific Name)


Oulton, Randal. "Black Gooseberries." CooksInfo.com. Published 14 January 2006; revised 02 January 2007. Web. Accessed 03/18/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/black-gooseberries>.

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