Family: Grossulariaceae Genus: ribes Species: ribes odoratum (known as spicebush or clove currant)
General form is upright, making a bush that is more vertical than drooping. Leaves are more finely divided than most other currants, deviating a bit from the maple leaf resemblance. This is a very attractive plant, the foliage becoming a brilliant red come fall and retaining those leaves better than many other ribes. The blooms are also distinct, forming a bright yellow trumpet shaped flower that stands out from rich green bush. Most others in this genus have nearly invisible bloom and low fragrance, but not this one, making for an ornamental and aromatic addition to the landscape. The names “spicebush” and “clove currant” were given to oderatum for the character of the flowers’ odor. Flowering lasts two weeks.
The overall growth is : height: 3 to 7 feet, spread: 3 to 5 feet. It is known to tolerate heat a bit better than other ribes. It has some resistance to white pine blister rust and to powdery mildew. It is immune to cane blight.
Pollination is a non-issue with most ribes since most are self pollinating. The skinny on Crandall is a bit less clear. Many references state that odoratum species are a dioecious lot, and furthermore many lump Crandall in with the wild species. There are conflicting reports from nurseries and growers about this. Nurseries and orchards (us included) would find it hard to come to terms on this issue due to a wide range of suitable pollinators from other individuals and species. There are growers who report good cropping with a single Crandall. What is escaping the discussion is that no Crandalls have ever been sold as sexed plants (see Research pages for more on dioecious plants), so the whole issue seems moot. Also, all named varieties are clones, which of course would not yield both sexes from a single plant, which is what named varieties are. All the Crandalls growing in our orchard are a single clone, and all produce fruit. The conclusion? We would suggest growing it in company with other ribes, since we like to sell more plants (wink), but you will probably be fine with one.
Crandall is one of the so-called clove currants (ribes odoratum) which are native in the US and common from Minnesota down through Missouri and to Texas. The species in general are very winter hardy, and Crandall in particular has survived well in North Dakota plantings. This heirloom variety was introduced in 1888.
Fruit ripens unevenly. Green picked fruits reportedly will ripen. These berries will be larger than other currants, up to ¾ an inch, making it more the size of a gooseberry or grape. These are quite different in taste than true black currants. The Crandall is far sweeter, and lacks the distinct musky flavor of ribes nigrum. It is a much better candidate for fresh eating, but the less pronounced taste will not compare with traditional black currants in the culinary realm.
Read more about currants in the Research section…