This shrub/tree is growing in an old pasture that I use for holding stock. I've always wondered what it is.

It appears to be spreading with its root system. Growth rate medium. No fruit seeds or flowers that I can recall. If we don't have any ideas I'll update in the spring with some new pics.

Size is about 2 meters high and 4 meters in diameter.

Soil is clay alkaline.

Location is Utah.

Under the Köppen climate classification, It has a continental climate (Dsa)

USDA zone 7

Closeup of leaves

Shrub with fence in background

  • Hi! Where is this tree located? Can you say approximately how big it is? It's hard to tell from that picture. Has it grown a lot as they years have gone by? Are there any similar ones around? Does it ever have flowers, seeds, berries? Sorry about all the questions, I'm trying to get some more details to help pin it down. One of our tree experts might know it right away, but just in case, if you can think of anything more that might be helpful, would you add it into your question? Thanks! Aug 17, 2016 at 2:41
  • 2
    Could you load larger/higher resolution pictures, perhaps? Maple flowers are easy to miss (early spring, very small, often red or yellow.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 17, 2016 at 13:49
  • Looks like a Ribes odoratum perhaps. Next year, look for flowers/berries for a positive ID.
    – Brenn
    Dec 21, 2016 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


It's a currant bush (Ribes). That it popped up in a pasture, and was not planted, and judging from your location, Utah, it is most likely Golden Currant which is native there and doesn't mind high altitude. Exact ID requires fruit and flowers. There are several good photos on Wikipedia Images. From the leaves shown in your photo, I am going by a slight 'squareness' to ends of the 3 lobes, their satiny and leathery appearance, and dull green color.

I have handled Golden Currant in the landscape trade. It's a benign and beneficial plant used in landscaping as an easy-care, non-invasive ornamental; or, just for gardening because of edible fruit. It is one of the earliest woody plants to flower in the coldest gardening zones. Hardy to minus 40 °F, at least. This is a plant I recommend to beginners.

It's highly likely that the pioneers put this plant to use from the get go. Out West, you often find this used on old homesteads in plain and simple gardens. Every old-time farmer and rancher seems to recognize it.

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