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Ribes laxiflorum

Ribes laxiflorum

Ribes laxiflorum

Ribes laxiflorum. Synonym: Ribes coloradense. (Trailing Currant)
Grossulariaceae (Gooseberry Family)

Montane, subalpine. Openings, sparse woodlands. Summer.
Road to Spiller/Helmet Ridge, June 19, 2007 and June 13, 2012.

It is easy to mistake this Ribes for Ribes wolfii, because the leaves of the two plants are very similar.  A close look will show that the leaves of R. laxiflorum are considerably larger, the leaf lobes are not as rounded, and the texture of the leaves is thicker. R. laxiflorum also tends to be a more dense shrub;  R. wolfii has an open, airy growth form. 

But it is the habitat and flowers which most easily separate the two: R. laxiflorum enjoys open, sunny locations; R. wolfii is often found in thicker woods on very rocky slopes. The flowers of R. laxiflorum are pink and arise from last year's growth, usually under the new year's leaf growth -- as shown in the photographs at left and below.  R. wolfii flowers are showy white and arise on the new growth above the new leaves.

In the 3rd edition (2001) of Colorado Flora, Weber & Wittmann consider R. laxiflorum and R. coloradense as two distinct species, but in the 4th edition (2012) they indicate that the correct name for this species is Ribes laxiflorum. This puts them in accord with other floras. Intermountain Flora indicates, "... R. laxiflorum  and R. coloradense are the same taxon and cannot be separated even at the varietal level".

"Laxi florum" is Greek for "loose flowers".

Ribes laxiflorum

Ribes laxiflorum

Ribes laxiflorum. Synonym: Ribes coloradense. (Trailing Currant)
Grossulariaceae (Gooseberry Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Summer.
Road to Spiller/Helmet Ridge, June 19, 2007.

In 1814 Frederick Pursh named R. laxiflorum from a specimen collected in approximately 1792 by Archibald Menzies.  Frederick Colville applied the name R. coloradense in 1901 to a specimen collected in Colorado by C. L. Shear in 1896.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Ribes laxiflorum