Wax currant grows at mid to high elevations in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains where its amiable nature welcomes you to the high country. The pink to white tubular flowers are arranged in dense, drooping clusters, and are aromatic with a spicy scent. The flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. Native to the Western United States, wax currant grows in a variety of habitat types ranging from alpine fell-fields, open subalpine forest, dry, rocky slopes, edges of meadows, montane chaparral, and pine forest margins. It is tolerant of a wide variety of soils types, but prefers sandy, rocky, or loamy soil with good drainage. Generally growing no more than 5′ tall, wax currant has a rounded shape. Although the large, red-orange fruit (currant) has a bland taste, it is edible and can be made into jam or pie. Some Native tribes used the fruit to make pemmican or other traditional foods. Wax currant is shade intolerant and is best sited in full sun. The genus name “Ribes,” is derived from the Danish word “ribs,” meaning red currant. The specific epithet, “cereum” translates to waxy, as the common name suggests, due to the waxy secretion of the leaves. Somewhat drought tolerant, depending on elevation. Will require some summer water at low elevations. A larval host plant for numerous butterflies.
Seed Germination Instructions
90-120 days cold-moist stratification. Sow outside in fall.