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!
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.
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! ♥