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Ribes malvaceum var. viridifolium 'Ortega Beauty'

Common Name:
Chaparral currant
Plant Type:
Deciduous shrub
Family:
Grossulariaceae (The Gooseberry Family)
Geographic Origin:
California
California Native?:
Yes
Plant Size:
6-8 feet high
Landscape/Garden Uses:
Mixed plantings
Flowering Season:
Winter and spring
Flower Color:
Rose red
Exposure:
Sun or light shade
Soils:
Well-drained soil
Suggested Irrigation:
Moderate to occasional watering
Estimated Hardiness:
Hardy to 15 degrees F. or less
This is a southern version of the chaparral currant, distinguished, as the varietal name suggests, by deep green rather than grey-green leaves. This was originally encountered in the Ortega Mountains, and has proven to be a hardy shrub. It was over 6 feet high and wide in the wild, and will probably grow even larger in cultivation. It has attractive reddish brown, peeling bark and large, resinous dark green leaves. In late winter it makes a striking display of large flowers, as red as those of the best forms of Ribes sanguineum. Best in sun or part shade, though part shade is preferable in the hotter interior, with reasonably well drained soil and moderate to occasional watering.