I’m a newbie to this forum and I hope you can give me some guidance on Ribes odoratum ‘Crandall’. I have a small garden in New York City. We’re zone 7b. I’m hoping to grow a few fruit bushes. But, with a small garden, every inch and selection counts.
I’m curious about Clove Currants. From what I’ve read online, so far, it seems like Crandall comes highly recommended for taste and vigor.
But, I’m also reading on various sites that there are male and female plants. But, on other sites, it seems that the plant is self-fertile.
Do you know what’s what?
Have any of you grown this plant? If so, what’s your opinion of the taste?
How does the flavor compare to gooseberry or black currants?
I grow clove currants and my family has grown clove currants since long before I was born. My mom had a single bush where I grew up in Kansas that produced berries. I’ve never seen a bush that doesn’t produce berries and literally have seen hundreds of them. Crandall is a regular clove currant believed to be improved. I’ve not seen a huge improvement from the wild ones but they are good bushes. There are small leaf bushes we call Missouri clove currant and larger hardier bushes we call yellow currants or Kansas currants. The ones my family grows of the Missouri clove currants produce less berries and is more ornamental which may be what they are calling a male plant. One strain our family grows might produce 50 berries total whereas mine produce in large clusters. The clove currants I grow berry color is variable. I have yellow berries, red berries, black berries with all different flavors. I assume the yellow berry variety is a true yellow clove currant. I like the crandalls which are a black berry much better when they are ripe. Gooseberries I think taste better but the taste is similar. The currents flavor are either loved or hated there is no in between. Most people spit them out when they eat them but one out of 10 says what are these I love them! I love the flavor. This is what the wonderful smelling flowers look like Clove currants - great smelling blooms & delicious fruit!
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. That’s very helpful.
I love the idea that the flowers are so fragrant, too.
I think I’m convinced to give this kid a try.
I see that Whitman Nursery has it Crandall sale. I’ve heard good things about them, as a nursery with good plants, and I might buy a couple of gooseberries from them, too. (But, that’s for another thread).
@clarkinks, what size do your clove currant bushes get to?
I don’t have any direct experience with the fruit, but I can attest to the wonderful perfume these put out. I have read that the fruit is less musky than regular black currant. I have planted some around our house hoping for that sweet smell! I recieved some cuttings a couple years back from wild plants in CO, and hope I get a good variety of individuals from those starts.
By the way, just so you know I’m not losing my mind about this kind of thing…
Here are a few entries about Ribes odoratum that made my brain hurt.
Although most nurseries and other sources didn’t mention, one way or the other, whether or not the plant was monoecious or dioecious, here are two reputable sources that did…and someone goofed (or is goofy).
This is why your practical, hands-on experience is so helpful:
I have a clove currant (probably Crandall) that is barely 1 foot tall and has better than a dozen fruit on it right now (but not yet ripe)
I also have a fence line 6-8 feet long of clove currants that are between 4 and 5 feet tall (though I just pruned them) and I can count the number of berries I’ve gotten from them on two hands over the past 5 years.
The fruit on the smaller one get a bit larger than a black currant and have a fruity (grape) flavor.
I would rip out the non-fruiting ones tomorrow if the spring smell from them wasn’t so worthwhile.
I keep hearing glowing reports about Lucile. I called her last week to ask her advice about varieties of gooseberries for my area. I emailed her today to order two gooseberries and a Crandall. I think she’ll be shipping plants, again, a little later in the summer. It’s amazing how many folks sing her praises. She was a delight to talk to.
Good customer service is like good karma…it comes around.
I hope your little kid grows big and tall and productive.
I have two clove currants and they have a good crop of berries on them. I think they taste quite good for a currant. If you can let them ripen to a nice dark black they can have good sweetness to them. Otherwise they are more tart and can have a hint of astringency that I don’t mind. They don’t have the medicinal/cough syrup taste of the other black currants. Probably the best fresh eating currant for the typical American palate . They are also quite ornamental in the spring with their fragrant yellow flowers. Edible landscaping lists them as self fertile.
I went with 5 different varieties: hinnomaki yellow, tixia, Jeanne, black velvet, and Jahn’s prairie. They all seem to be doing well. One of them set 4 berries this year, but we only got to taste one… Something else tasted the others . It was quite good and would have been even better if allowed to ripen more. It was either Jahn’s prairie or black velvet, can’t remember.