fbpx Clove currant | The Morton Arboretum

Clove currant

Spring flowers of clove currant.

An irregularly shaped, loosely branched, native shrub reaching 6 to 8 feet high. In springtime the bright yellow flowers smell like cloves.



Botanical name:

Ribes odoratum (syn. Ribes aureum var villosum)

All common names:

Clove currant, buffalo currant, Missouri currant, golden currant

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Massing,
  • Screen

Size Range:

  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • early spring,
  • mid spring

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Irregular

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Size & form

An irregularly shaped shrub with cascading, arching stems.  Plants reach 6 to 8 feet high and wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Best grown in full sun to part shade.  Prefers organically rich moist to well-drained soil. Tolerant of poor soils and drought once established.
Avoid overhead watering to prevent mildew. Renewal prune in early spring.
Plants may sucker forming small colonies.

Disease, pests, and problems

Anthacnose, mildew, leaf spots, rust

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Rabbits, drought, erosion, clay

Native geographic location and habitat

Native from SD to TX, MN, IL.
Found on rocky bluffs, slopes and along stream banks.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Birds and butterflies

Bark color and texture 

Deep brown, loosely branched, thornless stems.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, blue-green ovate to rounded, 3-lobed leaves.
Fall color is a dull yellow brown.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Dioecious, bright yellow trumpet-shaped, clove-scented flowers in 5 to 10 nodding racemes.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Female plants have 1/3-inch purple-black berries in June.


Location of Ribes odoratum (syn. Ribes aureum var villosum) (Clove currant) at the Arboretum

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.