Black Currant Ribes americanum
Family: Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Branching: Alternate
Other names: American Black Currant

There are several other species of Currant (and the closely related Gooseberries, which have bristly and thorny stems) and they all have maple-like leaves.  Black Currant has very distinctive twigs, powdery gray and with vertical ridges extending down from the center of the leaf scar.  It grows in wetter areas, such as floodplains.  It is a short shrub, up to waist height, but usually shorter, and often with a single stem (though many can grow in close proximity).

Winter twig of Black Currant

Lateral bud and leaf scar.  Notice how a ridge descends from the middle of the leaf scar

Another view of the winter twig of Black Currant.
They are often covered with a sort of powder that easily rubs off.

Another view of a lateral bud, on an older stem.

Older bark

Eventually the vertical lines are lost on older bark.

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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