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A Worcesterberry bush is an open bush that averages about 5 to 6 feet (around 2 metres) in height, but that can on occasion grow up to 10 feet (3 metres) tall. Its white canes can have thorns anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1 to 1 1/2 cm) long. It is cold hardy down to -4 F (-20 C), and can be grown from seed, or cuttings. It blossoms in April. Some like it as a hedge.

The berries, about 1/3 inch (10 cm) wide, grow in clusters on last year's canes.

The colour of Worcesterberries can be dark purple or red.

Worcesterberries are somewhat tart, but sweeter than gooseberries. For the best flavour, the berries are best left to ripen on the bush until they are as dark as that variety will get before picking. Birds love the berries, so many home gardeners net the bush as the berries appear, but the netting used must be such that it will still allow a good deal of sunlight through to aid in the ripening.

When partially ripe, Worcesterberries have more of a gooseberry taste; as they ripen, they taste more like black currants.

Worcesterberries are popular with UK gardeners.

The bushes can act as a host for a blister rust that affects white pine trees. Their cultivation is consequently discouraged near white pine timber stands.

Cooking Tips

Worcesterberries can be used for jams, jellies, puddings, fools and pies.

History Notes

Worcesterberries are a cross that is presumed to have occurred naturally between gooseberries and black currants. There are two such widely known crosses: this one, which ended up looking more like a gooseberry, and Jostaberries, which ended up more like a black currant. A few sources now speculate that Worcesterberries are not just a cross that occurred naturally, but are rather a distinct species.

Despite the name, and the popularity in the UK, Worcesterberries are native to America.

Language Notes

Worcesterberries are sometimes called "Black Gooseberries", but that name is more usually applied to another berry.

They are also called "Orus 8" in some gardening catalogues, though that is actually a separate variety "(Ribes x nidigrolaria Bauer)."

See also:


Açaí Berries; Akala Berries; Aronia Berries; Baba Berries; Barberries; Berries; Bilberries; Black Currants; Black Gooseberries; Blueberries; Buffalo Currants; Bumbleberries; Cape Gooseberries; Cloudberries; Cranberries; Devil Spits Day; Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show; Elderberries; Garden Huckleberries; Gooseberries; Haw Flakes; Hawthorne Berries; Huckleberry; Hudson Bay Currants; Jostaberries; Lingonberries; Mulberries; Otaheite Gooseberry; Raspberries; Red Currants; Saskatoon Berries; Sea Buckthorn; Serendipity Berries; Strawberries; Sunberries; Tayberries; Thimbleberries; Ugni; Waimate Berries; White Currants; Wineberries; Wonderberries; Worcesterberries

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Also called:

Grossularia divaricata Steudel, Ribes divaricatum (Scientific Name)


Oulton, Randal. "Worcesterberries." CooksInfo.com. Published 17 June 2005; revised 29 April 2009. Web. Accessed 03/18/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/worcesterberries>.

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