Garden, Side Projects

Forbidden Fruit 2: State by State Legality of Gooseberry and Currant Berry (Laws regarding plants in the Ribes genus)

Since I have been unable to locate a full and recent list of state legality regarding plants of the Ribes genus, I compiled my own comprehensive list. Like the laws themselves, this list is dynamic so please contact me if any of the information here is out of date. Please check with your local extension office for confirmation before getting involved with the Ribes genus in any regard.

Summarized: Ribes plants really are forbidden fruit to some people. Residents of New Hampshire, North Carolina and West Virginia are completely out of luck as those states enforce a statewide ban on all Ribes species. Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island enforce a permit system. Most other states ban Ribes cultivars that are not resistant to the White Pine Blister Rust (WPBR) pathogen but below is the complete breakdown.

All the sources provided are from state legislature, extension offices or state universities.



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  • “European Black Currant, Ribes nigrum prohibited state-wide
    The sale, transportation, further planting or possession of plants of the genus Ribes (commonly) known as currant and gooseberry plants, including cultivated, wild, or ornamental sorts is prohibited in the following Counties in the State of Maine, to wit: York, Cumberland, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, Hancock, and parts of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Aroostook, and Washington”





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New Hampshire

New Jersey

  • 2. The possession or movement of plant cultivars and hybrids of European Black Currant (Ribes nigrum L.) into or within New Jersey is only allowed under special permit issued by the Department.
  • 3. The possession or movement of red currant and gooseberry plants (Ribes sp. and Grossularia sp.) is allowed into or within New Jersey except the following municipalities, constituting a protective area: Montague, Sandyston, Walpack and Vernon Townships in Sussex County; West Milford, Ringwood Borough and Wanaque Township in Passaic County, and Jefferson Township in Morris County.
  • 4. Currant plants and gooseberry plants other than the European Black Currant (Ribes nigrum L.) may be moved into and within all other points in New Jersey by complying with the general requirements of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for the movement of nursery stock (N.J.S.A. 4:7-16 et seq.).

New Mexico

  • No Restrictions Found

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

  • No Restrictions Found


  • The current Ohio law (Regulation AG-71-85.01) to
    suppress and control White Pine Blister Rust Disease is
    as follows:
  • (A) The European black currant, Ribes nigrum L. or any
    variety of this species is hereby declared to be a public
    nuisance, and it shall be unlawful for any person to
    possess, transport, plant, propagate, sell, or offer for
    sale, plants, roots, scions, seeds, or cuttings of these
    plants in this state.
  • (B) Recognized varieties, e.g., “Consort” produced by the
    hybridization of Ribes nigrum L. or a variety thereof
    with a resistant or immune species, known to be immune
    or highly resistant to the White Pine Blister Rust
    fungus, (Cronartium ribicola, Fischer) are exempt from
    the restrictions imposed by paragraph (A) above.
    Note: Ohio law does not prohibit the planting of red
    currants or gooseberries within the state.


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Rhode Island

South Carolina

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South Dakota

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West Virginia


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23 thoughts on “Forbidden Fruit 2: State by State Legality of Gooseberry and Currant Berry (Laws regarding plants in the Ribes genus)

  1. Interesting, though also alarming. It doesn’t affect me in the UK, so would never have though black currants and gooseberries could be considered a public nuisance!


    • Here in the states it was a typical case of forestry mismanagement. Then to cover their tracks they spent millions of dollars in have people literally walk side by side destroying native ribes plants. What a mess!

      And too bad since ribes plants are fantastic for high latitude, cold weather and shaded spots!


  2. claudia says:

    Today I found that the Plants for Planting Manual does not prohibit the entry of Ribes into Wisconsin nor do you need a permit according to this manual.. however, manuals before it, namely 03/205-34, did state Ribes required a permit to enter Wisconsin…

    According to 7 CRF 319.37-3(a) (5), dated 2012, Ribes requires a permit to enter Wisconsin.

    Not sure what to believe


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