Plant of the month: March
Also known as: Ribes
Native to: West China
Blooms: February to April
Where found at BBG: Wilson Border
Ribes laurifolium was discovered and introduced by E. H. Wilson in 1908. It is not often seen growing in gardens which is a shame because it is a really useful low growing shrub, perfect for the front of any border. This spineless member of the currant family is also evergreen and is at its best in a partial shaded position.
Its new growth has striking red petioles (leaf stalks) which contrast well with its green-tinged, yellow pendent racemes flowers, making a rather pleasing combination.
The stems of this plant do not tend to branch however they will spread over the soil, rooting and layering on top of one another, though they can easily be removed and used to propagate this lovely shrub.
This particular plant species is dioecious, this means that there are separate male and female plants. Female plants produce much smaller racemes of flowers with only a stigma and an ovary, whereas the male plants produce a much bigger raceme of flowers with anthers that produce the pollen.