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Ribes uva-crispa - Gooseberry

Range:Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, Italy and the Caucasus.
Ribes uva-crispa (Gooseberry) is a Shrub which grows to a height of 1.2m and a width of 1m . It has a moderate growth rate. It has a hardness rating of 5and is quite resiliant to frost.
Gooseberry will flower in September to November. the seeds ripen from January to March
The flowers from this plant are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and they are pollinated by Insects

Soil Information

Gooseberry will grow in light (sandy),medium (loamy),hard (clay) soil. It is / is important for the soil to be well drained.
The soil prefers the following PH / acid levels :
- pH of less than 6, Acidic soils
- pH between 6 and 8, Neutral soils
- pH greater than 8, Basic soils
Gooseberry prefers moist soils

Ideal Planting Locations

Gooseberry can grow in semi or areas with no shade.

Woods and hedges, often by streams[17].

Planting places suited to this plant described below.

Cultivation Details

Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality[11, 200]. Growth is often poor in light soils, whilst heavy soils encourage soft growth and excess vigour[200]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 6.5[200], though it can grow well in more acid or alkaline soils[K]. It is important to add plenty of humus to chalky soil[K]. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position[11]. They can be grown against east or north facing walls[37]. The fruit of plants on north facing walls will ripen later, thus extending the fruiting season, though yields will be lower[K]. Plants dislike very hot weather[37]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -20c[200], but the flowers and young fruits are susceptible to frost damage Plants are very susceptible to potash deficiency[1], especially when grown on alkaline soils[K]. Gooseberries are commonly cultivated in temperate regions for their edible fruit, there are many named varieties[183, 200]. Birds love the fruit and so some protection is often required, especially if the fruit is being grown to full ripeness[K]. Plants grow best in cool moist climates such as N. Europe[200]. Plants fruit best on one and two year old wood so any pruning should be to encourage vigorous new shoots[200]. Plants can harbour a stage of white pine blister rust, so should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees[155]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].

Edible Uses*

* See disclaimer
Edible Rating: 5/5
Fruit - raw or cooked[1, 2, 5, 7, 61]. The fruit is often picked when under-ripe and very firm, it has a very tart flavour at this time and is mainly used in making pies, jams etc. However, if the fruit is allowed to remain on the plant until it is fully ripe and soft it becomes quite sweet and is delicious for eating out of hand[K]. The fruit of the wild species is often less than 1cm in diameter, but named cultivars have considerably larger fruits up to 3cm in diameter[K]. Leaves- raw. The young and tender leaves can be eaten in salads[4]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses*

* See disclaimer
Medicinal Rating: 1/5
The fruit is laxative[7]. Stewed unripe gooseberries are used as a spring tonic to cleanse the system[4]. The leaves have been used in the treatment of gravel[4]. An infusion taken before the monthly periods is said to be a useful tonic for growing girls[4]. The leaves contain tannin and have been used as an astringent to treat dysentery and wounds[7].


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification at between 0 and 5c and should be sown as early in the year as possible[113, 164]. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year's growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors[78, 200].

Known Hazards

The fresh leaves contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide, though details of quantities are not given[240]. This substance is found in several foods, including almonds. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Other Uses

The fruit pulp is used cosmetically in face-masks for its cleansing effect on greasy skins[7].


'Alma' -
'Angler' -
'Australia' -
'Beauty' -
'Beech Tree Nestling' -
'Bellede Meaux' -
'Bellona' -
'Berry's Early Giant' -
'Berry's Early Kent' -
'Black Seedling' -
'Blucher' -
'Bobby Green' -
'Bright Venus' -
'British Oak' -
'Colossal' - A very large oval fruit, 4cm in diameter[183].The flesh is sweet and mild, ripening in mid July[183]. A vigorous bush, it is very winter hardy, heavy bearing and disease resistant[183].
'Conquering Hero' -
'Drill' -
'Early Sulpher' - A medium-size thin-skinned fruit with a sweet fairly good flavour[183]. It ripensvery early and is one of the best early gooseberries for cooking whilst also making an excellent dessert fruit[183]. A large vigorous and productive bush, upright to spreading[183].
'Echo' -
'Faithful' -
'Fascination' -
'G11' -
'Gautrey's Earliest' -
'Gem' -
'Glenton Green' - A medium-size fruit, up to 3cm in diameter, it is of very good quality[183].
'Globe Yellow' -
'Golden Drop' -
'Golden Lion' -
'Green Gascoyne' -
'Green Gem' -
'Green Ocean' -
'Green Overall' -
'Green Walnut' -
'Greengage' -
'Gretna Green' -
'Grune Flaschen Beere' -
'Grune Reisen' -
'Guy's Seedling' -
'Hearts of Oak' -
'Hedgehog' -
'Hero of the Nile' -
'Honing's Fruheste' - A medium to large fruit, the skin is thick, the flesh very tender and juicy with a sweet mild plum-like flavour of very good quality[183]. Ripens in early July[183]. A large vigorous productive bush, one of the earliest and most attractive of gooseberries[183].
'Hot Gossip' -
'Hue and Cry' -
'Independance' -
'Ingal's Prolific' -
'Invicta' - A medium-size fruit of excellent quality[183]. Resistant to mildew[183].
'Jenny Lind' -
'Jolly Angler' -
'King of Trumps' -
'Lady Delamere' -
'Lady Houghton' -
'Langley Gage' - Large fruit with a transparent skin, the flesh is very sweet and the flavour exceptionally good[183]. Excellent for dessert[183]. A strong-growing bush, upright at first but tending to spread with age[183]. Difficult to pick because it tends to produce fruits in the centre of the bush[183].
'Langley Green' -
'Laxton's Amber' -
'Leader' -
'Lily of the Valley' -
'London City' -
'London' - A very large oval fruit with a smooth skin. The flavour is good, it ripens mid-season to late[183]. A spreading bush, it makes few branches and requires a rich soil[183]. Heavy yielding[183]. Flowers mid-period[183].
'Lord Derby' -
'Lord Elcho' -
'Marigold' -
'Marm Gold Kugal' -
'Matchless' -
'Mertensis' -
'Mischief' -
'Mitre' -
'Monarch' -
'Montrose' -
'Ostrich' -
'Pax' - An almost spine-free variety with red fruits that have an excellent flavour and ripen in mid July. The plants have moderate resistance to mildew and leaf spot.
'Peru' -
'Pixwell' - A medium-size fruit, borne in clusters and on long stems away from the thorns, making picking easy[183]. Thin-skinned, it is good for all culinary purposes[183]. A compact hardy very productive bush[183]. This cultivar is a hybrid R. hirtellum x R. missouriensis[183].
'Plain Long Green' -
'Pottage' -
'Preston Seedling' -
'Profit' -
'Queen of Hearts' -
'Rearguard' -
'Reisen von Kothen' -
'Ringer' -
'Roaring Lion' -
'Roseberry' -
'Scotch Red Rouen' -
'Scottish Chieftan' -
'Sensation' -
'Sir John Brown' -
'Slap Bang' -
'Smarag Beere' -
'Smiling Beauty' -
'Spinefree' -
'Talford' -
'Thumper' -
'Tom Joiner' -
'Victoria' -
'Viper' -
'Weidersch Frue Market' -
'Weisse Reissen' -
'Weisse Voltreisen' -
'White Fig' -
'White Lion' - A large fruit with a slightly hairy skin, it has a very good flavour and ripens very late[183]. An excellent late dessert fruit[183]. The bush is vigorous and spreading, high yielding[183]. Grows well on soils where other cultivars do not thrive[183]. Flowers late mid season.
'White Transparent' -
'Wynham's Industry' -


Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Bean. W.
Author: Bean. W.
Publisher : A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
Date of Publication : 1981

Flora of the British Isles.
Clapham, Tootin and Warburg.
Author: Clapham, Tootin and Warburg.
Publisher : A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
Date of Publication : 1962

The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Huxley. A.
Author: Huxley. A.
Publisher : Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
Date of Publication : 1992

DISCLAIMER: All information published on is for entertainment purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained here with other sources. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by doctors or dietary advice by dieticians. will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising therefrom.