LRP - Licenses

LRP - Regulations

LRP - Permits

Recreation - Statewide

Recreation - Trapping

Recreation - Fishing

Recreation - Hunting

Env. Protection - Management

Env. Protection - Emergency

Env. Protection - Resources

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

Share your observations

Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory.

Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare lichens
Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
Discover unique resources.
Eagle license plate

Help care for rare plants and animals by ordering an Endangered Resources plate.

Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare plants, contact:
Kevin Doyle

Canadian Gooseberry (Ribes oxyacanthoides ssp. oxyacanthoides)

Life history

Species overview

Canadian Gooseberry (Ribes oxyacanthoides ssp. oxyacanthoides), a Wisconsin Threatened plant, is found in cool, open habitats such as talus forests, bluff edges, and moist flats between dunes. Blooming occurs early May through early June; fruiting occurs late June through late July. The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late June.

Synonyms: Ribes oxyacanthoides var. oxyacanthoides


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Stamens equal to slightly exceeding the petals, but shorter than the sepals.
  • Flower characteristics: Small flowers in small clusters or racemes; petals white, obovate, 2 to 3 mm; sepals oblong, smooth, blunt, 2.5 to 4 mm;stamens equal to slightly exceeding the petals, but shorter than the sepals.
  • Fruit characteristics: Smooth, greenish-purple, many-seeded berry.
  • Leaf characteristics: 1.5 to 3 cm long by 2 to 3.5 cm wide, glandular and hairy at least beneath, broadly wedge- to square-shaped at the base.


  • Blooming phenology: early May through early June
  • Fruiting phenology: late June through late July
  • Optimum time to identify: late May through late June


  • Growth form: Shrub
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Viburnum edule, Acer spicatum, Thuja occidentalis, Populus balsamifera, Ribes glandulosum, Sambucus canadensis, Ribes americanum.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Canadian Gooseberry (Ribes oxyacanthoides ssp. oxyacanthoides). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Ribes oxyacanthoides ssp. oxyacanthoides in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG5T5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in cool, open habitats such as talus forests, bluff edges, and moist flats between dunes.
  • Soils: Moist soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Canadian Gooseberry. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Canadian Gooseberry. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid disturbance to rocky slopes and outcrops within forests where this species is found
  • Avoid direct disturbance to sensitive microsites such as seeps, cliffs, and moss-covered boulders.
  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Maintaining the cool microclimate around this species is likely imperative to its persistence
  • Buffer management around unique microhabitats such as ephemeral ponds, seeps, etc.


Canadian Gooseberry  Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Canadian Gooseberry  Photo.

Photo © William S. Alverson.

Canadian Gooseberry  Photo.

Photo © William S. Alverson.

Canadian Gooseberry  Photo.

Photo © William S. Alverson.

Canadian Gooseberry  Photo.

Photo © William S. Alverson.

Canadian Gooseberry  Photo.

Photo by  staff, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Monday, April 30, 2018
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition