Gooseberry Ribes spp.
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Branching: Alternate

Gooseberries are small shrubs, usually not much more than knee-height.  Typically they are solitary and are not overly multi-stemmed.  They tend to stand out because of their light brown colour and thorns, which help separate them from the closely related Currants (also in the genus Ribes).   The amount of thorns varies from species to species, but there are usually thorns at the base of the leaf scar and there may or may not be weaker "bristles" scattered between.  The buds on all Gooseberries are light brown, with loose papery scales.  There are several different species, though they are more difficult to separate in the winter.  

Winter twig of a Gooseberry.  Notice the buds with their light brown, loose, papery scales

End bud and lateral buds.  Thorns usually occur at the base of the leaf scar

Another view of the lateral bud and thorns.  Also notice the smaller "bristles" on the main stem

Winter twig of another Gooseberry

Another view off the twig

The twigs can be quite thorny/bristly

Older stems can be very thorny

Gooseberry leaves (like those of Currants) resemble Maple leaves

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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