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Straggly Gooseberry · Ribes divaricatum
Description: An erect deciduous shrub with arching branches 4 to 9 feet tall. Stout spines create cover for wildlife, edible berries provide food; a very good hedgerow plant. Leaves with three to five lobes and a toothed margin. Flowers from March to May; sepals are red to purple, with recurved lobes two to three times longer thatn the tube. Petals are red to white, and pistils and stamens exend beyond the petals. Fruits are edible, round, smooth purplish black berries. Straggly gooseberry grows in open woods from the Pacific coast to the Cascade mountains, from British Columbia to California. Plant it in your garden where it will get partial shade and regular water, and where its thorns will not snag passers-by; use in a hedgerow. Provides nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds.
The Lewis and Clark expedition collected a specimen in Oregon on April 8, 1806. On April 12, Lewis described the vegetation in the Columbia Gorge near the present-day Bridge of the Gods: "near the river we find the Cottonwood, sweet willow, broad leafed ash, a species of maple, the purple haw, a small speceis of cherry, purple currant, gooseberry, red willow, vining and white burry honeysuckle, huckkleburry, sacacommis [kinnikinnick], two speceis of mountain holley, & common ash."