March 18
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Plant Genus of the family Grossulariaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Itea Very attractive yet not widely cultivated, the 10 evergreen and deciduous shrubs and small trees in this genus present an interesting combination of foliage and flowers. Members of the currant or gooseberry family, their foliage is often more reminiscent of holly and their flowers are like those of hazel or the tassel tree (Garrya). Found naturally in Asia, with a sole eastern North American representative, the evergreens offer dark lustrous leaves throughout the year, while the deciduous species have brilliant autumn foliage color. The catkin-like racemes, although interesting, are not colorful and are really more of a novelty for their contrast with the foliage. CULTIVATION: Frost hardiness varies, but the commonly grown species are reasonably tough and will thrive in most well-drained soils with a position in full sun or partial shade. They are, however, not drought tolerant and need ample summer moisture. Propagate from seed or half-hardened cuttings.
Ribes Widespread in the northern temperate regions, this genus contains around 150 species of shrubs. Some are purely ornamental, others are grown for their fruit and a few provide a dash of autumn foliage color. They are usually deciduous, with twiggy or wiry stems that are sometimes very thorny. Usually with 3 to 5 lobes, the leaves often have scalloped or toothed edges and a covering of bristly hairs. The flowers are small, sometimes in racemes large enough to be showy, and followed by often-bristly, many-seeded berries that are frequently edible. Some species are important commercial or home garden crops. CULTIVATION: Some species are not self-fertile and must be planted in groups to ensure good fruiting. Apart from this requirement and the need for some winter chilling, most are easily grown plants that require little more than a reasonably well-drained soil, moisture in summer and some shade from the very hottest summer sun. Rust or mildew can cause problems with some species, but often disease-resistant cultivars are available. Propagate from seed or cuttings, or by layering.

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