Missouri Wildflower Guide

     On the next day of his fasting
By the river's brink he wandered,
Through the Muskoday, the meadow,

Saw the wild rice, Mahnomonee,
Saw the blueberry, Meenahga,
And the strawberry, Odahmin,
And the gooseberry, Shahbomin,
And the grape-vine, the Bemahgut,
Trailing o'er the alder-branches,
Filling all the air with fragrance!


From "Song of Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



With its tasty berries and attractive foliage, it surprises me that Gooseberries aren't more widely grown domestically. They are common in Missouri woods, though, so perhaps those who relish them are able to find all they want in the wild.


When the berries are fully ripe, they have a rather bland flavor, so they are used green, when they have a tart taste, and are commonly made into pie. After cooking them and adding sugar, my grandmother often simply served them in a bowl.


Picking gooseberries is a pleasant pastime. They are found in the shade rather than in the hot sun like blackberries, and are picked earlier in the year. They do have long, sharp spines, but pokes and scratches seem to be more easily avoided than when picking blackberries. Removing the stems and blossom ends is tedious work, however.


    Bloom Time



  • Habit



  • Height

    3 feet


Gooseberry leaf