Herb: Coastal Black Gooseberry

Latin name: Ribes divaricatum

Synonyms: Grossularia divaricata

Family: Grossulariaceae (Currant Family)

Medicinal use of Coastal Black Gooseberry:

The inner bark has been chewed, and the juice swallowed, as a treatment for colds and sore throats. A decoction of the bark or the root has been used as an eye wash for sore eyes. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of sore throats, venereal disease and tuberculosis. The burnt stems have been rubbed on neck sores.

Description of the plant:


2.7 m
(8 3/4 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

Open woods, prairies and moist hillsides.

Edible parts of Coastal Black Gooseberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet and juicy. A very acceptable flavour, though a bit on the acid side. It is considered to be one of the finest wild N. American gooseberries. The fruit is sometimes harvested before it is fully ripe and then cooked. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter. On the wild species the fruit can hang on the plant until the autumn (if the birds leave it alone). Young leaves and unripe fruits are used to make a sauce.

Other uses of the herb:

The roots have been boiled with cedar (Juniperus spp, Thuja sp.) and wild rose (Rosa spp) roots, then pounded and woven into rope. The sharp thorns have been used as probes for boils, for removing splinters and for tattooing.

Propagation of Coastal Black Gooseberry:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 4 - 5 months cold stratification at between 0 to 9C and should be sown as early in the year as possible. 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. 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.

Cultivation of the herb:

Open woods, prairies and moist hillsides.

Known hazards of Ribes divaricatum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.