And let me tell you, during the past cold dreary winter months, it has been a favorite remedy. Just a few drops on the tongue or a splash in sparkly water brings a little sweet spring sunshine into my step! The blossoms, however, are so beloved by bees and hummingbirds, I harvest very sparingly. Which makes my elixir stores precious indeed! But now, with the blossoms in a riot of bloom, it’s time to replenish my supply.
Red Flowering Currant is used lavishly in native gardens and is found in sunny, semi-shade spots in the wild. Abe Lloyd writes it“ grows abundantly throughout the lands adjacent to the Salish Sea, along both slopes of the Cascades and westward to the Pacific Coast, and southward throughout western California to the Channel Islands.” If you don’t have Red Flowering Currant growing near you, the blossoms of both black, white, red currants are also remarkably fragrant and tasty – and are widespread across the temperate Northern Hemisphere. There are also wild currants such as Ribes indecorum or white-flowered currant which grows further south towards and in the warmer climes of California.
It’s also very popular in England. The first specimens were brought back on Captain Vancouver’s 1792 voyage in the Pacific Northwest and by the mid-1800’s it had taken English Gardens by storm. And many specimens have likely traveled the world, so who knows where you’ll find Red Flowering Currant.
If you’re interested in creating a Red Flowering Currant Elixir of your own, now (early April) is the time to gather the blossoms. Just remember the bees and hummingbirds! Flowering Red Currant is about 5 -to 10 feet tall and its leaves feature five lobes, are green and smooth while the undersides are paler and finely haired. Flowers vary from crimson red, hot pink to paler blushes.