gooseberry Ribes uva-crispa (syn. R. grossularia) is a species of Ribes, native
to Europe, northwestern Africa and southwestern Asia. It is one of several
similar species in the subgenus Grossularia; for the other related species (e.g.
North American Gooseberry Ribes hirtellum), see the genus page Ribes.
Although usually placed as a subgenus within Ribes, a few taxonomists treat Grossularia as a separate genus, although hybrids between gooseberry and blackcurrant (e.g. the Jostaberry) are possible. The subgenus Grossularia differs somewhat from currants, chiefly in their spiny stems, and in that their flowers grow one to three together on short stems, not in racemes.
The gooseberry is a straggling bush growing to 1-3 m tall, the branches being thickly set with sharp spines, standing out singly or in diverging tufts of two or three from the bases of the short spurs or lateral leaf shoots, on which the bell-shaped flowers are produced, singly or in pairs, from the groups of rounded, deeply-crenated 3 or 5 lobed leaves. The fruit is smaller than in the garden kinds, but is often of good flavour; it is generally hairy, but in one variety smooth, constituting the R. uva-crispa of writers; the colour is usually green, but plants are occasionally met with having deep purple berries.