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Golden Currant · Ribes aureum
Description: An erect deciduous shrub (3-7 ft.). The yellow flowers are larger than the flowers of other currants, but the flower clusters are smaller. Flowers April-May. Grows along streams in grasslands and dry forests, British Columbia to California and east to Texas. Sun/part sun, low-moderate water, well-drained soil. A host plant for the Zephyr butterfly.
Lewis and Clark collected golden currant on July 29, 1805, in Montana and again in April of 1806 near present-day The Dalles, Oregon. From Lewis' journal entry of July 17, 1805, just after entering the Rocky Mountains near present-day Hardy, Montana: "there are a great abundance of red yellow perple & black currants, and service berries now ripe and in great perfection. I find these fruits very pleasent particularly the yellow currant which I think vastly preferable to those of our gardens.the shrub which produces this fruit rises to a hight of 6 or 8 feet . . . they grow closely ascociated in cops either in the oppen or timbered lands near the watercourses. . . the perianth of the fructification is one leaved, five cleft, abbreviated and tubular, the corolla is monopetallous funnel-shaped . . . and of a fine orrange colour. . . . the fruit is a berry. . . it is quite as transparent as the red current of our gardens, not so ascid, & more agreeably flavored."