Plant Species of San Jacinto Mountain:
Ribes malvaceum, chaparral current

This page gives some information about the characteristics of the Ribes malvaceum plants on the Spitler Peak Trail, and presents photographs showing the range in color of these plants from white to deep pink / red. All photographs were taken by Tom Chester.

Note that the plants with white flowers were not R. indecorum; they were the white form of R. malvaceum. For photographs of R. indecorum from the Cahuilla Mountain Trail and the Ramona Trail, and measurements on those flowers, see Plants of Southern California: Ribes indecorum and R. malvaceum.

Due to the problems using the hypanthium color, and the lengths of the hypanthium, sepals and style in determining plants of R. indecorum on the Ramona Trail and Cahuilla Mountain Trail (see the above link), the Flora of North America author, Nancy Morin, kindly send Tom a number of other characterstics to use to distinguish R. indecorum and R. malvaceum. The plants of both colors at the Spitler Peak Trail fit R. malvaceum perfectly for those characteristics: The leaves all had biserrate margins; the inflorescences were mostly pendent; the pedicel bracts were all oblanceolate and wide; the sepals were all nearly overlapping at the base; and the sepals were all spreading to somewhat ascending in fresh flowers, never recurved.

In addition, the plants with different flower colors had the same gestalt in the field, were growing next to each other, and measurements on the flowers were similar. The free portion of the hypanthium ranged from 3.5 to 5.5 mm for both the white flowers and the pink / red flowers. The sepal length was 3.0 to 4.0 mm for both. These values are both significantly longer than the values for the Ramona and Cahuilla plants, although they also do not perfectly fit the ranges given in the floras. The filament lengths ranged from 0.5 to 1.0 mm for both. The style lengths were 4.0 to 4.2 mm, with spreading hairs.

Fig. 1 shows photographs of entire plants. Fig. 2 shows photographs of the inflorescences. Fig. 3 shows photograph of the leaves.

Fig. 1. Photographs of entire plants showing the color variation from white to deep pink/red, from the Spitler Peak Trail, 14 April 2018. There are two separate plants growing together in the topmost photograph.
Click on the pictures (except the topmost one) for larger versions.

Fig. 2. Photographs of inflorescences of various plants, from the Spitler Peak Trail, 14 April 2018. Although only ~10% of the plants had white flowers on 14 April 2018, this figure shows an equal number of white flowers to compare them with the pink / red flowers.
Click on the pictures for larger versions.

Fig. 3. Photographs of the leaves of a white-flowered plant on the left, and a pink/red flowered plant on the right, from the Spitler Peak Trail, 14 April 2018.
Click on the pictures for larger versions.

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Copyright © 2018 by Tom Chester and Bruce Watts.
Commercial rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce any or all of this page for individual or non-profit institutional internal use as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 16 April 2018.