Wildlife, Animals, and Plants
BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
SPECIES: Ribes velutinum | Desert Gooseberry
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS :
Desert gooseberry is a native, deciduous, nonrhizomatous  shrub
growing from 3.3 to 6.6 feet (1-2 m) tall [13,28]. Its stout, rigid
branches are usually pubescent. The orbicular, three- to five-lobed
leaves are 0.2 to 0.8 inch (0.5-2 cm) long and at least as wide [8,28].
Racemes are three- to five-flowered. Hirsute berries are 0.2 to 0.32
inch (0.5-0.8 cm) in diameter [8,13,28].
RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :
REGENERATION PROCESSES :
Desert gooseberry reproduces by seed and sprouts from the root crown
following disturbance or fire [10,31,32].
Ribes spp. generally begin fruiting after 3 years . Many seeds fall
beneath the parent plant; they are also dispersed by birds and animals.
Fallen seeds may remain viable in the soil and duff for many years
[19,20]. Seed germination is generally enhanced by scarification and
mineral soil [12,19,20].
The burrowing activity of rodents creates soil mounds at the base of
desert gooseberry plants. Aerial stems that become buried by the mounds
continue to grow and develop roots at stem nodes .
SITE CHARACTERISTICS :
Desert gooseberry generally occurs on dry, rocky foothills, mountain
slopes, or ridges in coarse, loamy soil [17,23,27] at elevations ranging
from 2,310 to 8,250 feet (700-2,500 m) [8,28]. At Lava Beds National
Monument, desert gooseberry grows on basalt outcrops and slopes of
cinder cones . In singleleaf pinyon-Utah juniper (Juniperus
osteosperma) woodlands of Nevada and California, desert gooseberry
occurred with significantly (p<.05) greater frequency on north and east
slopes than south and west aspects .
In the White Pine Mountains of White Pine County, Nevada, desert
gooseberry is near its southern distribution. Climate is semiarid with
a mean annual precipitation of 9.6 inches (240 mm). Most precipitation
falls in the form of snow in early spring and short-duration
thunderstorms during summer. The mean annual temperature is 44 degrees
Fahrenheit (6.8 deg C). The frost-free period is rarely greater than
100 days .
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS :
Desert gooseberry is somewhat shade tolerant. It sometimes grows under
forest canopy, but it occurs most often and grows most vigorously on
open sites. In the Shoshone Range of western Nevada, desert gooseberry
occurred as an understory species in curlleaf mountain mahogany
(Cercocarpus ledifolius) communities where canopy cover approached 100
percent . At Lava Beds National Monument, desert gooseberry was a
dominant overstory shrub on basalt outcrops .
Desert gooseberry can be found in all successional stages of
pinyon-juniper woodlands. In Nevada and California, it occurred burned
and unburned sites with 95 percent constancy. Percent frequency of
desert gooseberry in various seral stages was as follows :
seral stage early early-mid mid mid-late late
postfire year 1 4-8 15-17 22-60 unburned
% frequency 25 72 48 59 56
Median percent cover of desert gooseberry was less than 20 percent.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT :
The specific phenology of desert gooseberry was not described in the
literature. Ribes spp. generally flower from April to June. The fruit
of Ribes spp. generally ripens June to September .
Related categories for Species: Ribes velutinum
| Desert Gooseberry