Grossulariaceae: Gooseberry Family — Gooseberries
The Gooseberry family contains a single genus Ribes, which includes both currants and gooseberries. These two groups can be distinguished by whether or not the stems have prominent and extremely sharp nodal spines. Gooseberries have them, currants do not. In addition, stems of certain gooseberries can be extremely bristly between the nodes; an important but not always reliable diagnostic feature.
Gooseberries can be tricky plants to identify. The books include detailed descriptions of particular differentiating features, but experience in the field suggests that not all plants show the features they are supposed to. It appears that the most reliable distinguishing characteristics are 1) the length of the petals relative to the stamens, and 2) the color of the anthers. Other factors will often need to be taken into consideration. The fruits are edible, and generally tasty, but often prickly and so need to be eaten with care.
Notes: in these flowers, the sepals are bright and attractive, often red, while the petals are smaller and shorter. When reference is made to the relative length of stamens and petals, both are measured from their base, so a stamen 1.5 × the length of the petals will be exserted half the length of the petals.