This deciduous shrub, together with the white fruit currant sativum and the purplish-black fruit R. nigrum, is widespread in Europe, North America and Asia and is close to 120-150 cm in size. It is a vigorous strain, from which depart erect stems, cylindrical, rigid, poorly branched, the leaves are deep green and have 3-5 lobes, with a toothed margin.
In spring, it produces small clusters formed by 15-20 small whitish flowers, which, in late spring, or at the beginning of summer, give way to small round, shiny, pulpy fruits, with a very aromatic taste, especially in the case of R. nigrum. The currant is used for fresh consumption, or to prepare fruit preserves or as a flavoring. A particular type is the gooseberry, R.
uva-crispa, with larger fruits, which grow in small clusters on thorny stems, very vigorous, has a sweeter taste than the common currant.
It is a deciduous shrub that includes several varieties. Within the genus, in fact, there are varieties with red bunch fruit, varieties with black or purplish bunch fruit and varieties with white or yellow bunches. The most prized varieties are those with red bunches, but no less appreciated are those with black or purplish bunches. Among the red grape varieties are Junifer, originally from France and ripening early, and Rivada, a Dutch variety with late development and large fruits.
Among the yellow varieties we mention Victoria, a rustic species, easy to grow and with an average ripening time. The most common black-cluster varieties are Titania and Black Lamond. The latter, rich in polyphenols and vitamin C, are better suited to the preparation of jams and fruit juices.
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For a greater production of fruits, the currants prefer to be planted in a sunny, or at least very bright, place; in fact, however, these plants develop without problems even in the shade or in the middle shade. They are not afraid of the cold, even during particularly cold winters; in places with very hot summers they need to be shaded, especially during the months of July and August. Currants planted in places with particularly high annual averages may not produce fruits.
These shrubs usually settle for the rains and do not need large amounts of water, during periods of prolonged drought and during the ripening of the fruit are recommended occasional watering. In spring and autumn, bury mature organic fertilizer at the foot of the stump.
The currant loves deep soils, loose and rich of organic matter; usually it is able to adapt to any type of soil, except those too much wet or acid. Currant plants tend to produce numerous basal suckers, which bear fruit from the second year on for 2-3 years; usually they tend to prune the branches they have already yielded for some years and also some of the new basal suckers if these are very numerous.
Usually, it is done by woody cutting, utilizing portions of stem which are at least two years old. The currant multiplies by seed and by cutting. The first method of propagation takes a very long time for the rooting and it is for this reason that we prefer to use cutting. This method guarantees good results as early as the following spring. Woody cuttings about twenty centimetres high must be taken from the mother plant. The operation takes place between November and February.
If, on the contrary, the cutting is obtained from a plant not present in its own soil, maybe from plants in nursery, then the transplant must take place in summer. In order to bury them at best, the cuttings are to be inserted, for half of their length, on holes expressly dug on the ground. During the operation, it is also necessary to provide for the use of rows which support the roots of the plant during the growth phase.
At the end of the planting of the cuttings, proceed with an abundant irrigation.
Pests and diseases
It is a vigorous plant and free from pests and diseases; occasionally it can be affected by bad white. It can be attacked by pests and diseases. The insects that most affect the plant are cochineals and aphids. These pests mostly infest the branches and dry leaves that are not removed during pruning. Specific insecticides must be used to combat them. In particular, the attacks of the yellow aphid are more common in currants.
There are also many fungal diseases, including powdery mildew or white sickness, grey mould and root rot. The white mal attacks mainly the blackcurrant. Very harmful for the plant, also the attacks of the cochineal of San Josè. This insect is fought with the same insecticides used for the other species of cochineals. Another terrible adversity of the currant is the anthracnose, fungal pathology that devours the leaves.
The same symptoms of leaf fall are caused by rust and septoria, phytopathologies always caused by pathogenic fungi. It is particularly sensitive to the attacks of the sesia, a butterfly which appears in the month of June and which lays its eggs at the base of the new shoots. The larvae, as soon as they hatch, begin to dig tunnels in the branches, trying their drying up. To fight this adversity, it is better to eliminate and burn the affected branches.
For currants, two types of intervention are envisaged: pruning for breeding and rejuvenation. In the first case, side branches and suckers are removed to give the plant the desired shape. The main forms of cultivation for the currant are the spindle, with a central rod, the palmette, with two or three branches supported respectively by three wires, and the bush.
In the spindle shape all the basal suckers are removed, in the palmette the basal suckers are always removed and the lateral branches are shortened; in the bush shape, instead, three or four suckers are left and the oldest one is removed every year. Every year, also the horizontal branches and the excess suckers are to be eliminated. Also remember to prune dry branches and damaged leaves to avoid disease development and insect pests.
Currants have numerous medicinal properties. Its fruits have laxative, diuretic and purifying properties. The beneficial effects of currant fruits depend on the presence of sugars, vitamin C, mucilage, pectin and organic acids. Currant fruit juices also have a disinfectant and refreshing effect on the intestinal system. In ancient times, however, the leaves of the plant were used to combat the most serious forms of tuberculosis.
History of the project
Currants and gooseberries, another species always belonging to the genus Currants, includes about three hundred different varieties with clusters of different sizes and colors from one species to another. Currants were also known by Greeks and Latins. It is mentioned for the first time in Europe since the XV century. The botanical name of the currant lends itself to different interpretations.
According to some it derives from Arabic and means “acid”, while according to others it comes from the German term “Mübsee”, diminutive of “Meba”, a very ancient term that means “enigma”.
The meaning of currants is very particular and refers to its fruits. These mean, in fact, “You are my delight”. The term is quite romantic and passionate and probably refers to ripe, sweet and pleasantly scented fruits, because the young ones have a more acidic taste.
- Shrubs such as currants, in most cases, use, for their development, the same rains and do not have b
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