Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Prickly Gooseberry
Ribes cynosbati

Other common names: Dogberry, Pasture Gooseberry

Family: Gooseberry Family (Grossulariaceae), (Saxifrage Family (Saxifragaceae))

Group: Gooseberries

Distinctive features: Shrub; This Gooseberry is distinguished by its berries that are covered with prickles. The stems are smooth except for one or two weak prickles at the nodes where the leaves grow.

Similar species:
  •   Bristly Wild Gooseberry (Ribes oxyacanthoides) - stem covered with numerous soft prickles, with a few stouter prickles at leaf nodes.

  •   Wild Gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum) - stems smooth, with 1-2 spines at leaf nodes, berries lack prickles .

Flowers: Spring;  Green/Brown;  5 parts (petals)

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Toothed;  Alternate, simple.

Fruit/Seeds: Fruit covered with prickles.

Habitat: Forests;  Open forests.

Edible: Fruits are edible.

Books: Shrubs of Ontario: 135    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 306   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Photographs: 51 photographs available, of which 4 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Prickly Gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati)

Typical leaf (underside).

Prickly Gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati)

An unripe berry, showing the numerous prickles that adorn it. In spite of the prickles, the berries are edible!

Prickly Gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati)

A mature stem. Note the pattern of the bark.

Prickly Gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati)

A younger stem. Note the single large prickle at the leaf node, and the fine fuzzy hairs along the stem.

Range map for Prickly Gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)