The common name of this 1–2 m tall shrub refers to the showy red-tipped yellow blossoms that smell strongly of cloves. Unlike other currants, the stems of the golden currant lack spines. The tart, juicy fruit ripens in July, and may vary from pale yellow to shades of red or black. It is often speckled with tiny yellow bristles.
The pectin-rich fruits make excellent jam and jelly, as well as wine. Van Bruggen reports that the Sioux used them in pemmican, and that probably other tribes used them similarly. (20)
Growth habit and range: This is a somewhat uncommon, heavily branched, rounded to erect shrub growing to 1–2 meters in height, which is found in moist sites in the southern-most parts of the province.
Description: The young bark is reddish and smooth to hairy in texture. Older bark becomes smooth and grey. The leaves are fleshy and pale, yellowish green in colour, with three wedge-shaped lobes and a smooth, ovoid to shallowly scalloped margin to each leaflet. The leaves measure 2–5 cm long and wide and are held on a petiole.
The flowers have a clove like scent and occur in ascending or hanging racemes in May and June. Each tubular flower is about 1 cm in length and displays five spreading tan-yellow petals at the distal end. Often, the petals are orange-tipped. The fruit is a black, red or yellow berry measuring up to 8 mm in diameter. The remnant of the flower persists at the distal tip of each berry. Each fruit contains several small seeds.
Van Bruggen, Theodore. 1983. Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Plants of the Northern Plains and Black Hills. Badlands Natural History Association, SD.