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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Grossulariaceae DC.

Including Ribesieae (Ribesiaceae) A. Rich., Pulpaceae Dulac; excluding Brexiaceae, Dulongiaceae, Escalloniaceae, Iteaceae, Montiniaceae, Pterostemonaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Shrubs (often spiny, = Grossularia); leptocaul. Mesophytic. Leaves deciduous; small, or medium-sized; alternate; spiral (often fascicled, on short-shoots); flat; petiolate; non-sheathing; aromatic, or without marked odour; simple. Lamina dissected; palmatifid; palmately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate, or exstipulate. Stipules when present, intrapetiolar (adnate to the petiole). Lamina margins entire to dentate; flat. Vegetative buds scaly. Leaf development not ‘graminaceous’. Vernation plicate, or convolute. Domatia occurring in the family (Ribes); manifested as pockets.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata small, almost circular in outline, cf. Escalloniaceae sensu lato. Hairs present; eglandular and glandular; unicellular and multicellular. Complex hairs present (the hairs mostly unicellular, but shaggy trichomes with multiseriate stalks of variable lengths and spherical or peltate heads also occur). The mesophyll containing crystals, or without crystals (? - druses being common in the petioles). Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (1 species).

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Pith often stellate in outline, homogeneous, or heterogeneous. Secretory cavities absent. Cork cambium present; initially deep-seated. Nodes unilacunar, or tri-lacunar. Primary vascular tissues in a cylinder, without separate bundles; collateral. Internal phloem absent. Cortical bundles absent. Medullary bundles absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The wood ring porous (at least sometimes), or semi-ring porous to diffuse porous. The vessels very numerous, extremely to very small; mostly in radial multiples, or in radial multiples and in tangential arcs. The vessel end-walls scalariform, or scalariform and simple, or simple. The vessels without vestured pits; without spiral thickening. The axial xylem with tracheids; usually with vasicentric tracheids; with fibre tracheids, or without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres; including septate fibres. The fibres without spiral thickening. The parenchyma typically very rare or absent. The secondary phloem not stratified. ‘Included’ phloem absent. The wood not storied.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite, or dioecious. Pollination entomophilous.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’ (or ‘subsolitary’); in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Flowers bi- bracteolate; small to medium-sized; regular; 4–5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium present.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla, or petaline; 8, or 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 4, or 5 (sometimes petaloid); 1 whorled; gamosepalous; blunt-lobed; cupuliform, or campanulate; regular; persistent; sub- valvate, or imbricate. Corolla 4, or 5 (alternatively interpretable as staminodes); 1 whorled; polypetalous (the petals small, inserted in the hypanthium and alternating with the calyx lobes and stamens); imbricate; regular; persistent. Petals scalelike, obovate or subulate.

Androecium 4, or 5. Androecial members free of the perianth (inserted at the mouth of the hypanthium); all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens (assuming the ‘petals’ are not regarded as staminodes). Stamens 4, or 5; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous. Anthers non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Endothecium developing fibrous thickenings. Microsporogenesis simultaneous. The initial microspore tetrads tetrahedral, or isobilateral. Anther wall initially with more than one middle layer. Pollen grains aperturate; (2–)3–11 aperturate; porate, or colporate, or rugate; 2-celled.

Gynoecium 2 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious, or synstylovarious; inferior. Ovary 1 locular. Gynoecium median; stylate. Styles 2; free to partially joined; apical. Stigmas 2 (undivided); wet type; non-papillate; Group IV type. Placentation parietal. Ovules in the single cavity 4–100 (‘few to many’); funicled; horizontal; arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells formed; 2, or 3; not proliferating; ephemeral. Synergids hooked. Endosperm formation cellular, or helobial. Embryogeny irregular.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry (pulpy, crowned by the persistent perianth); 20–100 seeded (‘many’). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Embryo well differentiated (rather small). Cotyledons 2. Embryo achlorophyllous (2/3); straight.

Physiology, phytochemistry. C3. C3 physiology recorded directly in Ribes. Cyanogenic, or not cyanogenic. Cynogenic constituents tyrosine-derived (triglochinin?). Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins present; cyanidin, or cyanidin and delphinidin. Flavonols present; kaempferol and quercetin, or kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin. Ellagic acid present, or absent (variable in Ribes). Aluminium accumulation demonstrated.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic, Neotropical, and Antarctic. Frigid zone to sub-tropical. Temperate Eurasia, Northwest Africa, North and Central America, Pacific South America to Fuegia.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Rosiflorae; Cunoniales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Rosales. APG III core angiosperms; core eudicot; unplaced at Superordinal level. APG IV Order Saxifragales.

Species 150. Genera 2; Grossularia, Ribes.

Economic uses, etc. Commercial sources of edible fruits (redcurrants, whitecurrants, and gooseberries), and cultivated ornamental shrubs (e.g. Ribes sanguineum, Ribes aureum).


. . . All the other gifts appertinent to man, as the malice of this age shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry.
(‘2nd King Henry the Fourth’, i., 2)

Illustrations. • Grossularia cruentum (= Ribes): Bot. Mag. 132 (1906). • Grossularia lacustre (= Ribes): Bot. Mag. 106 (1880). • Le Maout and Decaisne: Ribes. • Ribes rubrum: Lindley. • Ribes aureum: Bot. Reg. 1274, 1829. • Ribes cereum: Bot. Reg. 1263, 1829. • Ribes cereum var. enebrians: as R. enebrians, Bot. Reg. 1471, 1831. • Ribes divaricatum: Bot. Reg. 1359, 1830. • Ribes nigrum (B. Ent.). • Ribes nigrum: Eng. Bot. 523 (1865). • Ribes oxyacanthoides subsp. setosum: Bot. Reg. 1237, 1829. • Ribes punctatum: Bot. Reg. 1658, 1835. • Ribes sanguineum: Bot. Reg. 1359, 1830. • Ribes uva-crispa (B. Ent.).

We advise against extracting comparative information from the descriptions. This is much more easily achieved using the DELTA data files or the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, geographical distribution, genera included in each family, and classifications (Dahlgren; Dahlgren, Clifford, and Yeo; Cronquist; APG). See also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 15th April 2018.’.