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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Swamp Red Currant - Ribes triste

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2?
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: No Known Threats
C-value: 7

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is known from a few collections from the western portion of the state. Additional data are needed.
General Description
Swamp Red Currant is a shrub that is up to 1 m tall. It has unarmed spreading to nearly prostrate, straw-colored stems that are glabrous to sparsely hairy and glandular. The alternate leaves have petioles and broadly spade-shaped blades, which are up to 10 cm wide and resemble a maple leaf. Leaves are glabrous above but sparsely hairy below. 6-13 short-stalked flowers are borne in pendant, open, spike-like inflorescences in the leaf axils. The flowers have a glabrous, saucer-shaped, purple or purple-spotted, 5-lobed calyx that is 2-3 mm long and 5 reddish-purple petals that are ca. 1 mm long. The 5 stamens are ca. as long as the petals, and the 2 glabrous styles are united below midlength. The ovary is attached inside the base of the calyx and matures into an egg-shaped, glabrous, bright red berry that is less than 1 cm long.

Flowering in July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
There are many species of Ribes; a technical manual and hand lens are required for positive identification. Ribes hudsonianum, the other native species with unarmed stems and saucer-shaped flowers, has a glandular calyx.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
In MT in Granite County; AK to NF, south to OR, SD, and VA; Asia.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 10

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist soil of forest openings in the montane to lower subalpine zones.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus vagans, Bombus bifarius, Bombus centralis, Bombus fervidus, Bombus flavifrons, Bombus huntii, Bombus melanopygus, Bombus mixtus, Bombus nevadensis, Bombus terricola, Bombus sitkensis, Bombus occidentalis, Bombus pensylvanicus, Bombus bimaculatus, Bombus impatiens, Bombus insularis, and Bombus flavidus (Plath 1934, Thorp et al. 1983, Colla and Dumesh 2010, Koch et al. 2012, Williams et al. 2014).

Threats or Limiting Factors
Threat impact not assigned because threats are not known (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Koch, J., J. Strange, and P. Williams. 2012. Bumble bees of the western United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 143 p.
    • Plath, O.E. 1934. Bumblebees and their ways. New York, NY: Macmillan Company. 201 p.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Swamp Red Currant — Ribes triste.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from