Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mystery Solved!...:)

I am so happy! (I know, I know ~ sometimes it doesn't take all that much...:) The identity of my Grandma's Mystery Shrub has been revealed, and I am just tickled pink (or yellow, in this case)!

Last night I couldn't sleep and was going through some online plant-identifiers, where you put in the flower color (yellow), whether the plant is deciduous or not (yes), when it blooms (early spring), etc. ~ and narrow it down to find the plant's species. I went to several of these sites (looking especially for ones that specialized in "old fashioned" plants) and kept coming up with Lindera Benzoin, commonly called "Spice Bush" which is what Grandma called it ~ but the leaves were not the same, at all. My shrub had lobed leaves, and Lindera's were compound pinnate, like Sumac.

It just bugged me that I couldn't correctly identify this plant!

Even my local nurseryman friend was stumped...(no pun intended) ~

Then I found Forestfarm ~ (Click to go to their site) ~ Really cool site, with all sorts of hard-to-find plants...and, though they didn't offer this particular plant for sale (that I could find at the time; they will soon! See "update" at the bottom of the post), I e-mailed them anyway and sent photos, asking for help ~ this was at about 3 a.m.

I had kind of forgotten that I had even done this when I came to the computer this morning, and there was an e-mail from Ray at ForestFarm, identifying my shrub for me as...

(imagine drum roll...)

Ribes odoratum, also called Clove Currant! (Yay!)

It's in the same family as gooseberry and other types of currants...(obviously, I guess!) ~ and evidently my shrub is male (I had been referring to it as "her" ~ ;) as the female does have fruit later in the year.



Now that I had a name to go on, I started looking around...

Here is what the Missouri Botanical Gardens had to say about her...uh, him!

Noteworthy Characteristics

Clove currant is a Missouri native shrub which is most commonly found on limestone bluffs along the Current and White Rivers in southern Missouri. It is a thornless, loosely-branched, irregularly-shaped, deciduous shrub which grows 6-8' tall and spreads by suckers. Ovate to rounded, medium to bluish-green, 3-5 lobed leaves turn dull yellow in fall. Golden yellow flowers appear in racemes in spring and emit a strong, clove-like fragrance (hence the species name of odoratum). A dioecious shrub which requires both male and female plants for fruit production. Fruit is an edible, black berry which can be used in jellies, preserves and pies.

Garden Uses

Although this shrub can appear somewhat unkempt and ragged as it ages, the aromatic flowers, edible fruits and summer foliage provide good ornamental value and interest. Group in shrub borders or open woodland areas. Informal hedge or screen. Background plant for native plant gardens.

Okay, I guess my Clove Currant is a little unkempt in form, but, I was little when Grandma gave this shrub to my Mom, and I am 54!  There is no telling how old it is, honestly. I am extremely happy that it survived the move last fall from my Mom's last home (actually, this was it's FIFTH move from its original spot in Essex, Missouri!) ~ Mom passed away almost five years ago, but the man who bought her house kindly let us take it, even after all this time...♥

Definitely a sturdy plant!

So, once again I want to thank Ray and Peg at Forestfarm...I've ordered their catalog, but probably won't be able to wait for that and will order from them online...trying to turn this former cotton field of a yard into something wonderful!

(The "Wildflowers" (see previous post) get to stay, though!)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

♥ ♥ ♥

Update! Ray just let me know that they will soon have some Clove Currant for sale, so I am definitely going to have to get my "old fellow" a female friend! (Then maybe I can try that jam/jelly making that the Botanical Gardens site told about!)

Be sure and visit Forestfarm....definitely worth your while! ♥


  1. I love your new blog header with your gorgeous feline. What a beauty this kitty is... just melts my heart. Those eyes!

    How fun to hunt and search to get the name of the bush. Mystery solved indeed!

    Have a great day!

  2. I love this story, Anne! I have wished we could have brought some of my grandmother's plants with us when the property was sold. It just wasn't possible at the time.:( I will visit Forestfarm.

  3. the yellow font really pops! WoW! =) so pretty

  4. That is one beautiful yellow plant! He is quite handsome :-)
    Happy weekend, jj

  5. What a wonderful bush, really woth having. Have a magical day.

  6. Love your new header! Isn't it funny how something puts a spur under your saddle and you just can't rest till you figure it out?

    We had a whole row of currant bushes and they made wonderful jam! They were not this variety though. xo Diana

  7. I'm catching up on your blog today and love the flower pictures, and I especially love the story of your 'Clove Currant' that is truly a member of your family! My Mother used to like to get plants from where my Grandfather's house used to stand and I never understood why--Now, I do, and I know you do as well! Enjoy your Sunday!!

  8. this is such a beautiful yellow plant.
    how fun to search for the name of the bush. i'm too love doing such things.

    thanks for your post.
    it totally uplifted my morning!

    your photos are absolutely gorgeous, too!

    have a great rest of your weekend!

  9. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. How lovely to be able to identify your shrub, and also that he's survived his move. It must be lovely to know where he came from, a sort of family heirloom.

  10. Hello~
    I adore family plants and transplants from beloved homes.
    I have bought from Forestfarm-they are terrific.
    I'm going to see if your shurb would be hardy in my zone 5 climate-it's pretty,and the smell of cloves would be wonderful to have in the yard.

  11. So glad you got your shrub identified! That was very nice of the ForestFarm people to take their time to email you back. I have ordered from them before, and am happy to hear this story about them. How fun to be able to get another shrub so you can have jams!

  12. Isn't it grand when mysteries are solved? Super plant!!

  13. What a pretty flower - I've never heard of it - but glad the mystery is solved.

  14. Yep- LOVE that header! xo Diaan

  15. Hi Anne, I just found your lovely blog! It is so great when we are able to identify a plant we have long wondered about what it might be. What a thrill! I love all your cats!

  16. Hello, thank you for stopping by my blog. Your photos are wonderful and your cats are gorgeous. I look forward to seeing more! xx

  17. your blooms are lovely!
    so nice to "meet" you :)

  18. the yellow is just gorgeous!!
    happy April!

  19. I'm glad you're getting Him a Her - seems only right somehow. I hope they'll get on all right.

  20. Thankfully the internet makes hunting things like this so much easier! I would have guessed forsythia but see that the blooms are a bit different. Good luck with the jelly!

  21. Anne,
    First I want to thank you for being my latest 'follower" It's always a thrill to get a new one.
    And, your photos are lovely! I scrolled around and you have some beautiful ones, my favorites are the cat pics, I'm sorry about the furry ones you lost in the fire, that must have been awful. Well, I'm off now to visiti Forestfarm. See you in cyberspace!


I love your thoughts and comments, and I read each and every one! Sometimes life gets in the way, though, and it takes me a while to respond...Thank you for understanding! ♥...Time is precious, and the time you've taken here is truly appreciated!