Difficulty
  gooseberries require low to moderate effort to manage.
∙ disease resistant varieties
∙ moderately wet climate
Bloom
  gooseberries may bloom over an extended period of time. The last of them finish relatively late.
Ripens
  65 to 100 days (cool summer)
Pollination
  partially self-fertile
pH
  5.5 to 7 is preferred

Native Range and Climate



American gooseberries (Ribes hirtellum) are primarily native to the warm summer continental climate (Dfb) of New England and the Great Lakes region.  The average July high within this area generally resides between 75F to 80F (21.1C to 26.7C), but it may extend to 85F+ (29.4C) in their southern range.

Canadian gooseberries (Ribes oxyacanthoides subsp.  oxyacanthoides) are native from Alaska to the Hudson Bay and south to eastern Wyoming and the Great Lakes region.  The area primarily experiences the subarctic (Dfc), warm summer continental (Dfb), and, to a lesser extent, the cold semi-arid climate (BSk).  There are four other subspecies of Ribes oxyacanthoides.  Their range lies, for the most part, in the northwestern quarter of the United States.

European gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa or Ribes grossularia) are native to the mountainous regions Europe, Caucasus, and North Africa, but they have naturalized throughout Europe as well as the more northern areas of the United States.

In Europe, they are commonly found in the warm summer continental (Dfb), subpolar oceanic (Cfc), and subarctic climate (Dfc).  In the United States, they have primarily naturalized in the warm summer continental climate (Dfb).[1] The average July high within both regions generally resides between 70F and 80F (21.1C to 26.7C).  In warmer areas with more rain and humidity, European gooseberries struggle to survive.  In North Africa and other countries with a similar climate, such as Spain and Greece, they appear to thrive in the limited areas that experience a warm summer mediterranean climate (Csb).[1][2]


Disease



American powdery mildew (Podosphaera mors-uvae) generally causes significant damage to European gooseberries.  Invicta and Greenfinch are the exceptions, since both are quite resistant.  American species, and various European hybrids, have a high level of resistance as well.

Leaf spot and pre-mature defoliation are caused by anthracnose (Drepanopeziza ribis) or septoria (Mycosphaerella ribis).  It is the primary reason why improved selections have had limited success in the northern range of the humid subtropical climate of North America (without the use of chemical control).  Due to their American parentage, most hybrid varieties are tolerant enough to survive and produce a decent crop in such an area, but only Jeanne has demonstrated a high level of resistance.  However, reports are limited and further experimentation is required, with Sabine, Amish Red, and, especially, Glendale being in greater need of it, since it has been subtly implied that they have additional resistance as well.

The vast majority of gooseberry varieties are quite resistant to White pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola), and those that are susceptible are generally not harmed by the disease.  Unfortunately, WPBR is a serious threat to white pine species native to North America, but a small number of selections have been found to have various forms of resistance.[3] They are currently being used for selective breeding in hopes to develop trees with resistance that is both strong and durable.  Since the vast majority of white pines in the US are still susceptible, some states, primarily in the northeast, have banned black currants and, to a lesser extent, red currants and gooseberries, since the latter two are less susceptible to the disease.  In some cases, gooseberries are banned on a county level, and, in other cases, they may require you to get a permit or limit your options to certain varieties.


Pests



Green larva that feed on the leaves are the only gooseberry pests I commonly see complaints about in the United States.  The gooseberry sawfly is almost exclusively blamed, but their larva generally have black spots as well.  None of those I have seen had black spots, and I have seen another, larger green larva feed on gooseberry foliage en masse.  I have also noticed gooseberry bushes in or near densely planted areas with a high bird population have practically no issue with the larva, while those outside of this range, roughly 150 feet away, are quickly defoliated.


Nutritional Values



Measurements of the Ascorbic acid (AA) content of gooseberries have ranged between 15.4 and 189 mg/100g FW.[4][5][6][7][8][9] However, the slight majority of the studies I have read had results around 20 to 25 mg/100g, but it was fairly common for their values to be roughly double that amount.  Red gooseberries may, on average, develop a higher AA content than green gooseberries, but in a study that compared 20 different varieties, the AA of the green varieties were quite different from one another and ultimately consisted of the highest and the lowest values.[6] Regardless, their results were difficult to compare to red gooseberries, since only a few were tested.

The total phenolic content (TPC) ranged between 35 and 630 mg/100g FW, with a mean low and high of 158mg and 326mg.[4][10][5][11][7][12][9][13][14] The three studies that only gave one value were also within this range (191 to 253).  The TPC of red and green gooseberries were equivalent to one another.

In one study, the total phenolic and ascorbic acid content of three gooseberry varieties were compared to multiple varieties of 11 different fruit.[7] The average TPC of gooseberry (375 mg/100g FW) was significantly higher than pear (191) and apple (256) but fairly similar to white currant (323), cherry (324), raspberry (333), strawberry (335), european plum (348), and red currant (387).  However, their TPC was significantly lower than blueberry (491), black currant (705), and blackberry (803).  The average AA content of gooseberry (57.6 mg/100g FW) was significantly higher than plum (3), blueberry (13.3), pear (18.8), cherry (21.3), and apple (23.8) but fairly similar to white currant (43.1), raspberry (64.3), and blackberry (72.5).  Their AA content was significantly lower than that of strawberry (106), red currant (110.2), and black currant (293.8).[7]
1.
2.
3.
4. Contribution of phenolic compounds, ascorbic acid and vitamin E to antioxidant activity of currant (Ribes L.) and gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa L.) fruits, .
5.
6.
7.
8. Content of the Flavonols Quercetin, Myricetin, and Kaempferol in 25 Edible Berries, .
9. Variation in quality parameters between and within 14 Nordic tree fruit and berry species, .
10. Extractability of Polyphenols From Black Currant, Red Currant and Gooseberry and Their Antioxidant Activity, .
11. Investigations on Some Properties of Currant and Gooseberry Varieties Grown in Organic Condition, .
12. Changes in fruit quality parameters of four Ribes species during ripening, .
13. Anthocyanins, Phenolics, and Antioxidant Capacity in Diverse Small Fruits: Vaccinium, Rubus, and Ribes, .
14. Characterization of Anthocyanins and Proanthocyanidins in Some Cultivars of Ribes, Aronia, and Sambucus and Their Antioxidant Capacity, .




Read More

Gooseberry: Ribes spp

Amish Red

🔍
Zone
• 3
Ripens
🍒
• mid
Color
• red-pink skin
Growth
• thorny
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.  At least somewhat resistant to leaf spot.

Black Velvet

🔍
Ribes divaricatum hybrid
Zone
• 3
Ripens
🍒
• mid (mid-late)
• hangs well when ripe
Color
• dark purple skin
Growth
• thorny, up to 8ft tall
Fruit
• tart, strong flavor
• penny-size
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.  Somewhat resistant to leaf spot.

The flavor of Black Velvet is quite strong and reminiscent of concord grapes.  The skin is high in acid while the flesh is more moderate.  Overall, it is likely the most acidic variety when fully ripe. 

controversy: some consider the berries to be too tart for fresh eating.

Captivator

🔍
American x European hybrid.  Developed in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (1935).
Zone
• 3a
Ripens
🍒
• mid
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• few thorns
Fruit
• moderate to moderately-low in acidity
• fairly thick skin, can be somewhat firm and crunchy
• quarter-size, may have a raindrop shape
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.
Contradicting reports on leaf spot susceptibility.

The ripe fruit barely latches on to the plant.

Colossal

🔍
Originated in Mankato, Minnesota (1974).
Zone
• 3
Fruit
• 1.5" berries
Afflictions
• Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew.

Friend

🔍
Originated in Ukraine.
Zone
• 3
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• thornless
Afflictions
• Susceptible to leaf spot.

Glenndale

🔍
R. missouriense x R. grossularia.  Developed in Little Silver, New Jersey (1932).
Zone
• 3
Growth
• 6 to 8ft tall
Afflictions
• Probably resistant to leaf spot and powdery mildew.

Glenndale was bred to tolerate a more southern location or, more specifically, the northern part of the Cfa climate in the US.

Hinnonmaki Red

🔍
Originated in Finland.
Alias
• Lepaan Punainen, Lepaa Red
Zone
• 2? (3)
Ripens
🍒
• early-mid?
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• thorny
Fruit
• sweet-tart
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.  At least somewhat resistant to leaf spot.

Hinnonmaki Red and Lepaa Red may have originally been the same variety in the US, but I am not sure if they still are or if one of them is mislabeled.  They do share at least a few similar qualities, such as their burgundy skin and resistance to mildew. 

In Finland, where the variety was developed, they are referred to as Lepaan Punainen.

Hinnonmaki Yellow

🔍
European x American hybrid.  Originated in Finland.
Zone
• 3
Ripens
🍒
• mid
Color
• green skin (yellow in sunlight)
Growth
• dwarf, thorny
Fruit
• nickel-size
• the flesh is moderate to moderately-low in acidity
• the skin is moderate to moderately-high in acid
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust.  Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew and leaf spot.

Nurseries often claim the flavor of Hinnonmaki Yellow is reminiscent of apricot, but I have not seen any home-growers confirm this.  I have not experienced this either. 

The bush is quite dwarfing, to the point where it looks unusual sitting next to the others.  It may pair well with Jewel and Jeanne, since they, too, are considered to be small.  The bush is also quite thorny, which doesn't pair well with its dwarfing habit.  It will essentially force you to keep the bush well pruned.

Houghton

🔍
R. grossularia x R. hirtellum.  Originated in Lynn, Massachusetts (1833).
Zone
• 3
Ripens
🍒
• mid
Color
• burgundy skin
Afflictions
• Houghton may have less resistance to powdery mildew than most hybrid varieties.

The leaves turn purple in the fall, and they often have a red or burgundy outline.

Jeanne

🔍
unknown American x European parentage.  Introduced in Corvallis, Oregon (2006).
Zone
• 3
Blooms
💮
• late
Ripens
🍒
• mid-late
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• dwarf (3ft tall)
Fruit
• sweet or sweet-tart
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust, powdery mildew, and leaf spot.

Jewel

🔍
Originated in Poland.
Zone
• 3
Color
• burgundy skin, possibly peach
Growth
• dwarf

Jewel is shown to have peach skin by one major nursery, but it may be burgundy when the berries are fully ripe in most climates.

Oregon Champion

🔍
Crown Bob x Houghton.  Originated in Salem, Oregon (1876).
Zone
• 3
Color
• green-yellow skin
Growth
• thorny, 5ft tall
Fruit
• tart
Afflictions
• Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew.

Pixwell

🔍
R. missouriense x Oregon Champion.  Originated in North Dakota (1932).
Zone
• 3
Ripens
🍒
• early-mid
Color
• dark purple skin when fully ripe
• leaves may turn burgundy prior to fall
Growth
• thorny
• the fruit have a long stem
Fruit
• penny-size
• moderately-low in acidity
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.  Somewhat resistant to leaf spot.

Some people seem to harvest Pixwell when they are still tart and green-pink in color, and I am under the impression that, when grown near its southern limit, they may remain green-pink when fully ripe. 

Controversy: when they are fully ripe, some do not like their fairly low level of acidity and claim the texture is somewhat mealy.  When harvested too early, they can be fairly acidic and lack flavor.  Personally, they are one of my favorites, and I like them when they are fully ripe.

Poorman

🔍
Houghton x Downing.  Selected in Brigham City, Utah (1890).
Zone
• 3
Ripens
🍒
• mid
• hangs well when ripe
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• thorny
Fruit
• sweet
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.  Somewhat resistant to leaf spot.

Poorman may suffer from low productivity for a few additional years.  The berries can become quite sweet and low in acid if they are left to hang on the bush long enough.

Red George

🔍
Originated in Ukraine.
Zone
• 3
Color
• dark burgundy skin
Growth
• thorny
Afflictions
• Resistant to powdery mildew.  Somewhat resistant to leaf spot.

Sabine

🔍
Spinefree x Clark.  Originated in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Zone
• 3
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• few thorns
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.  At least somewhat resistant to leaf spot.

Tixia

🔍
Invicta x LS 9-31-54.  Introduced in Switzerland (1990).
Zone
• 3
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• few thorns
Afflictions
• Resistant to powdery mildew.
Susceptible to white pine blister rust?

Welcome

🔍
Originated in Minnesota (1957).
Zone
• 2? (3)
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• few thorns
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.

Canadian Gooseberry: Ribes oxyacanthoides

Jahn's Prairie

🔍
Selected in Alberta, Canada (1984).
Zone
• 3
Ripens
🍒
• mid?
Color
• burgundy skin
Growth
• few thorns, 5ft tall
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.
Contradicting reports on leaf spot susceptibility.

European Gooseberry: Ribes grossularia

Early Sulphur

🔍
Originated in Britain.
Zone
• 3
Color
• yellow skin
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust.
Susceptible to powdery mildew.

Greenfinch

🔍
Careless x (Whinham's Industry x Resistenta).  Originated in East Malling, England (1967).
Zone
• 3
Color
• green-yellow skin
Growth
• thorny, fairly compact, erect habit
Fruit
• smaller than Invicta
Yield
• highly productive
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew. 
More resistant to leaf spot than Invicta, but I haven't seen any reports on its performance in the United States.

The spines on Greenfinch are less prominent than those on Invicta.

Invicta

🔍
Resistenta x Whinham's Industry.  Originated in East Malling, England (1967).
Zone
• 3
Ripens
🍒
• early
• the berries easily fall when ripe
Color
• green-yellow skin
Growth
• very thorny
Fruit
• quarter-size
• moderately-high to moderately-low in acid
• the acid primarily resides in the skin
Yield
• highly productive
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew.
Susceptible to leaf spot.

Some Invicta berries have a strong kiwi flavor, but this may be the result of slight damage, oftentimes from its own thorns. 

controversy: reports about Invicta are unusually variable.

Leveller

🔍
Developed in England (1851).
Zone
• 3
Color
• yellow skin
Afflictions
• Susceptible to powdery mildew.

Speedwell

🔍
Zone
• 3
Color
• red-green skin
Growth
• thorny
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust.
Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew?

The berries of Speedwell may end up being much redder than what is displayed in the photo.

Whinham's Industry

🔍
Originated in Britain.
Zone
• 3
Color
• burgundy skin
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust.
Susceptible to powdery mildew.

Whitesmith

🔍
Originated in England (1824).
Zone
• 3
Color
• green skin
Yield
• highly productive
Afflictions
• Resistant to white pine blister rust.
Susceptible to powdery mildew.