Missouri gooseberry

(Ribes missouriense)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Missouri gooseberry


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed




Very common


Moderately moist to dry. Open woodlands, woodland borders, forested floodplains, thickets. Partial sun.


Late April to early June

Flower Color

Pale green to white


24 to 80



This is an erect shrub that rises on multiple stems from a branching, woody root system.

The stems are ascending, arching, or prostrate on the ground and creeping (trailing), occasionally branching, and 24 to 80 long. Long stems may arch to the ground and root at the tip, forming a crown that sends up new stems. Other stems may be trailing and may root at the nodes. First year stems are green and hairy. They become grayish or whitish and hairless by the third year.

The stems and branches have 1 to 3 well developed, straight, stout, ¼ to 11 16 long, reddish-brown spines just below the nodes, though these are sometimes absent. The stems also have straight, strong, slender, up to ¼ long, brown bristles between the nodes. The branches have fewer bristles or no bristles between the nodes, especially near the top of the plant. The bristles are abundant on the lower ½ or of the stem and on the larger branches, but are absent from the upper stem and smaller branches.

The leaves are alternate and occur singly or in small clusters (fascicles) of 2 or 3. They are circular in outline, to 19 16 long, and ¾ to 1¾ wide, and are on hairy, ¼ to ¾ long leaf stalks. The leaf blades are palmately divided into 3 or 5 lobes. The lobes may be further divided into 3 or 5 shallow secondary lobes. The base is usually tapered, rounded, or shallowly heart-shaped, sometimes squared off. The upper surface is green and nearly hairless. The lower surface is similar in color but moderately to densely covered with soft hairs. The margins are toothed with rounded teeth.

The inflorescence is a solitary flower or a loose, unbranched cluster of 2 to 4, flowers drooping from a leaf fascicle on a slender, 13 16 to 2 long stalk (peduncle).

Each flower is about long and droops downward on a slender, 3 16 to ½ long stalk (pedicel). There is a pair of bracts at the base of the pedicel. The bracts are 1 16 to long, shorter than the flower stalks, and are fringed with hairs. At the base of the flower is a smooth, green ovary. Above the ovary is a smooth, greenish-white, narrowly tube-shaped, 1 32 to long, cup-like structure (hypanthium). Neither the ovary nor the hypanthium have hairs or prickles on the surface. At the end of the hypanthium are 5 sepal lobes. The lobes are pale green to white, 3 16 to ¼ long, and initially erect but soon bending outwards or sharply backwards. The sepal lobes are longer than the calyx tube (the outer portion of the hypanthium). Also at the end of the hypanthium are 5 pale green to nearly white, inversely egg-shaped, 1 16 to long petals. The petals are erect and converging, but not actually fused. They become pinkish with age. Emerging from the hypanthium are 5 stamens with cream-colored to pale pink anthers, and 2 styles. The stamens are 3 to 5 times as long as the petals. The filaments are 5 16 to 7 16 long and are fused for one-half to three-quarters of their length. The styles are 7 16 to long, fused together for of their length, and hairy at least near the base.

The fruit is a globular, 5 16 to 9 16 in diameter berry. Immature berries are green with narrow, pale green, vertical stripes. When ripe they are dull red or dull purple. There are no prickles or hairs on the surface of the berry. Berries mature early mid-July to mid-August.


Eastern prickly gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati) calyx lobes are shorter than the tube. The ovary is densely covered with stiff, gland-tipped hairs. The fruit is covered with stiff, broad-based prickles.

Hairy-stem gooseberry(Ribes hirtellum) is a shorter plant, with stems no more than 60 long. Spines at the node are poorly developed or absent. The sepal lobes, filaments, and styles are all much shorter. The sepal lobes are shorter than the calyx tube and are spreading or somewhat bent backward. The filaments are to 3 16 long, extending only slightly beyond the petals. The styles are 3 16 to 5 16 long and are fused together for only half of their length. The plant is found throughout northern Minnesota and is absent from the south.

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 28.





Grossulariaceae (gooseberry)











Grossularia missouriensis

Ribes missouriense var. ozarkanum


Missouri gooseberry











Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.



The flower cup. May be the group of outer floral leaves (sepals) collectively, or a tube with lobes.



A small bundle or cluster, often sheathed at the base, as with pine needles.



A cup-like tubular structure of a flower formed from the fused bases of sepals, petals, and stamens, that surrounds the pistil. Its presence is diagnostic of many families, including Rose, Gooseberry, and Pea.



The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.



Similar to a hand. Having more than three lobes or leaflets that radiate from a single point at the base of the leaf.



In plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. In Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen.



The stalk of a single flower or flower cluster.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



The male reproductive organ of a flower consisting of an pollen-producing anther on a supporting filament.



Prostrate on the ground and creeping.


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  Missouri gooseberry   Missouri gooseberry


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  Missouri gooseberry    


  Missouri gooseberry   Missouri gooseberry
  Missouri gooseberry    

Upper Stem

  Missouri gooseberry   Missouri gooseberry

Lower Stem

  Missouri gooseberry    


  Missouri gooseberry   Missouri gooseberry
  Missouri gooseberry    









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Published on Sep 11, 2012

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