Ribes aureum Pursh
This vigorous, shrubby plant has abundant fragrant yellow flowers in the spring followed by edible berries, which are often consumed by wildlife. In the fall, the foliage can turn a nice red color. Currant is an alternate host for white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola; ribicola means living on Ribes), an exotic fungal pathogen currently (pun intended, though this is not a funny subject) devastating some tree populations. In Wyoming, whitebark pine and limber pine are susceptible to white pine blister rust. Thus, if you have any prized specimens of those species, you probably shouldn’t be planting any Ribes. This shrub spreads by suckers and reseeding. Golden currant is frequently sold at conservation district tree and shrub sales.
Water needs: moist to dry; will fruit better if kept moist
Exposure: full sun to part shade
Availability in nurseries: common
Native range: western U.S. and Canada (WY native)
Plant family: Grossulariaceae
Photo by Jennifer Thompson