Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Coastal BC Plants: Swamp Gooseberry

Swamp Gooseberry

Gooseberries can be distinguished from Currants because they have prickles and spines on their stems. Otherwise, they are members of the same family. The Swamp Gooseberry is very common along streams, lakes, swamps, and moist forest slopes. We found this example next to Bob’s Lake on Texada Island growing in the shade of a fir tree.

Swamp Gooseberries grow at low elevations from northern California to southern Vancouver Island. The plants are from three to five feet tall and have reddish flowers in June. The glossy green leaves are small and maple-shaped with five indented lobes. Dark red or purple berries form in late summer. The berries are edible but don’t have the most pleasant flavour raw, but it is said that their juice can be made into wine.

Caution should be taken because the spines can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. -- Margy

References: Wild Berries of the Pacific Northwest by J.E. (Ted) Underhill (Hancock House, 1974), and Plants of Coastal British Columbia by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon (Lone Pine, 1994).


  1. Very cool! I learn a lot about B.C. from your blog!

  2. Ours were not swamp gooseberries,and I think they were green, but my family used to go picking because my dad liked the pies. I've never seen this kind

  3. lovely photo's... I don't know them, are they edible?

    Have a nice ABC-day / - week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (ABC-team)

  4. I like the name -- gooseberries. I wonder if geese snack on them.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

  5. gooseberry is sweet.

  6. I've been told I've had them, but I have difficulty distinguishing them from blueberries



We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy