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This shrub is unarmed, and closely akin to the common black currant, which it resembles in having three- or five-lobed leaves with a coarse, irregular toothing and deeply heart-shaped base, and in possessing the same heavy odour, due to yellowish glands on the lower surface. The fruit also is black. The American species, however, is quite distinct in the flowers; these are nearly twice as long, more tapering and funnel-shaped, and yellow. Moreover, the bract from the axil of which each flower springs on the raceme is longer than the stalk. (In R. nigrum it is small and much shorter than the flower-stalk.)
Native of eastern N. America from Nova Scotia to Virginia, and west to the Rocky Mountains; introduced in 1729. As a garden shrub the only quality which recommends this currant is that its foliage becomes suffused with brilliant hues of crimson and yellow in autumn.