Lushootseed Name Red Flowering Currant:  p’uq  (Click Here to Listen)

Scientific Name:  Ribes sanguineum

Pronunciation:  ri-BEEZ san-gwin-EE-um

Red Flowering Currant is a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub that grows 8 to 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide.  It prefers sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. It can be planted free standing or as a hedge.  Think about how hedges allow wildlife to move more freely or provide shelter from predators.  You will need to water Red Flowering Currant during the summer for the first 2-5 years.

It’s beautiful pink flowers bloom in early spring.  Rufous Hummingbirds sip nectar from the flowers when they complete their long migration from Mexico to nest in the Pacific Northwest.   As the climate warms and people have feeders, a different species, Annas Hummingbirds live here year-round.  Bees also love the nectar in the flowers.

Pat Breen, Oregon State University has captured how the flowers form fruits.

Look at how the flowers form fruit called currants.

The leaves feed Zephyr and other butterfly larvae.  Deer browse the twigs and leaves.

These currants feed grouse, pheasants, American Robins, Spotted Towhees, thrushes, Cedar Waxwings, sparrows, Steller’s Jays and woodpeckers.  Squirrels, chipmunks and racoons also eat the berries.

Photo by Pat Breen, Oregon State University

The golden autumn leaves often stay on the plant into the winter providing beautiful foliage.

Photo by Pat Breen, Oregon State University

Fore More information about Red Flowering Currants, visit the Washington Native Plant Society’s Starflower Image Herbarium.

Another good resource is the Oregon State University’s Landscape Plants Website

To see a Red Flowering Currant, go to the Tacoma Metro Parks Native Plant Garden at Point Defiance Park.  Click here for directions, a walking guide and information.

Another good place is Wapato Park in Tacoma.  Click here for information.