Scientific Name

Ribes amarum

Part Shade


Max. Height × Width

3–6 feet × 5 feet

More information

Price & Availability

Currently not available.

Bitter Gooseberry’s understated charms probably explain why you can rarely find it at California native nurseries, but it is one of only a handful of species in the Ribes family that are truly local to the Los Angeles area. Whatever its lack of extroversion, the seriously underappreciated Ribes amarum more than makes up for any perceived deficits by virtue of its absolute perfection as an understory plant for Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia), which is where you will often observe it growing in the wild.

Once established, Ribes amarum needs virtually no supplemental water, making it an ideal companion planting for these mighty trees, which can be weakened or even killed by regular summer watering. (It would also do well, presumably, in the dappled shade of any large tree’s canopy.)

From the proper perspective, even its somewhat leggy form can be seen as a virtue: a single plant quickly forms a sprawling but manageable, thorny little thicket, a great place for birds to escape from well-fed but wicked pussycats. While they’re hiding out, birds love to feast on its spiny fruit (which is also humanly edible but scarcely worth the effort).

Most importantly, we feel planting Bitter Gooseberry is an act of renewal, reintroducing a long-lost, former inhabitant to our oak-graced neighborhoods.

We offer Ribes amarum in 10″ deepots, ready to take off (they are super fast) in that particularly problematic spot in your garden that calls out for plants that prefer “dry shade.”


Blue Dicks

Dipterostemon (Dichelostemma) capitatus

Drawing of plant with berries

Blue Elderberry

Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea

Blue Wildrye

Elymus glaucus

Branching Phacelia

Phacelia ramosissima

Brickell Bush

Brickellia californica

California Aster

Corethrogyne filaginifolia

California Aster

Corethrogyne filaginifolia

Drawing of plant

California Four O’Clock

Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia

California Fuchsia

Epilobium canum ssp. canum

California Prickly Phlox

Linanthus californicus

Drawing of plant

Canyon Dudleya

Dudleya cymosa

Drawing of plant

Cardinal Catchfly

Silene laciniata

Caterpillar Phacelia

Phacelia cicutaria

Drawing of plant with acorn

Coast Live Oak

Quercus agrifolia

Coast Prickly Pear

Opuntia littoralis

Illustration of plant in planter


Frangula californica

Drawing of plant

Fiesta Flower

Pholistoma auritum

Drawing of plant with handing flowers

Fuchsiaflower Gooseberry

Ribes speciosum

Drawing of plant

Hollyleaf Redberry

Rhamnus ilicifolia

Longstem Buckwheat

Eriogonum elongatum

Drawing of plant with feathery flowers

Mountain Mahogany

Cercocarpus betuloides

Drawing of plant

Poison Oak

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Drawing of plant

Punch Bowl Godetia

Clarkia bottae


Claytonia perfoliata

Drawing of plant

Round Leafed Boykinia

Boykinia rotundifolia

Sacred Datura

Datura wrightii

Drawing of plant

Santa Barbara Honeysuckle

Lonicera subspicata var. denudata

Illustration of plant in planter

Saw-Toothed Goldenbush

Hazardia squarrosa var. grindelioides

Drawing of plant

Scarlet Larkspur

Delphinium cardinale

Silver Puffs

Uropappus lindleyi

Drawing of plant

Soap Plant

Chloroglaum pomeridianum

Drawing of plant

Southern Bush Monkeyflower

Diplacus longiflorus

Drawing of plant with berries

Southern California Black Walnut

Juglans californica

Drawing of plant with spotted flowers

Spotted Humboldt’s Lily

Lilium humboldtii ssp. ocellatum


Helianthus annuus

Threadleaf Ragwort

Senecio flaccidus

Drawing of plant with berries


Heteromeles arbutifolia

Drawing of plant

Western Columbine

Aquilegia formosa

Drawing of plant

Western Wallflower

Erysimum capitatum

Wild Heliotrope