The blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum), also known as black currant or cassis, is a deciduous shrub in the family Grossulariaceae grown for its edible berries. It is native to temperate parts of central and northern Europe and northern Asia, where it prefers damp fertile soils. It is widely cultivated both commercially and domestically.
Ribes nigrum, the blackcurrant, is a medium-sized shrub, growing to 1.5 by 1.5 metres (5 by 5 ft). The leaves are alternate, simple, 3 to 5 cm (1 1⁄4 to 2 in) broad and long with five palmate lobes and a serrated margin. All parts of the plant are strongly aromatic. The flowers are produced in racemes known as "strigs" up to 8 cm (3 in) long containing ten to twenty flowers, each about 8 mm (3⁄8 in) in diameter. Each flower has a hairy calyx with yellow glands, the five lobes of which are longer than the inconspicuous petals. There are five stamens surrounding the stigma and style and two fused carpels. The flowers open in succession from the base of the strig and are mostly insect pollinated, but some pollen is distributed by the wind. A pollen grain landing on a stigma will germinate and send a slender pollen tube down the style to the ovule. In warm weather this takes about 48 hours but in cold weather it may take a week, and by that time, the ovule may have passed the stage where it is receptive. If fewer than about 35 ovules are fertilised, the fruit may not be able to develop and will fall prematurely. Frost can damage both unopened and open flowers when the temperature falls below −1.9 °C (28.6 °F). The flowers at the base of the strig are more protected by the foliage and are less likely to be damaged.
In midsummer the strigs of green fruit ripen to edible berries, very dark purple in colour, almost black, with glossy skins and persistent calyxes at the apex, each containing many seeds. An established bush can produce about 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of fruit each year.