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Red Flowering Current

Red Flowering Current, Western Red Flowering Current, Ribes sanguineum

Red Flowering Current in bloom, photographer Shari Brewer

The Red Flowering Current begins to bloom in the lower elevations of the Darrington area in early April and will continue to bloom in higher elevations through mid-summer.  You will find this carefree plant growing on embankments and the edges of forest where it can catch a little sunlight.  All currents are of course flowering and fruit bearing but Ribes sanguineum is the showiest of them all with racemes reaching lengths of up to 4 inches, and vary in colors from deep red to a blush pink.  Some of the species, though rare have bred and produced cream colored racemes.

Clusters of Red Flowering Current blossoms, photographer Martha Rasmussen
 
This woody shrub grows up to heights of 7 feet and is often found intertwined with other surrounding shrubs yet tending to keep its upright nature.  The irregular 5-lobed leaves are a rich green and deeply veined.  The flowers are a popular food of butterflies and is quite common to see them frequenting the bushes while in bloom.  The flowers will ripen into clusters of deep blue fruits, however being a favorite food of the birds, the fruit is seldom seen by the observer.