The large, glossy, dark green leaves are trifoliate and reddish when young and have beautiful autumn colours. The young stems can have woody spines. Sprays of small flowers are followed by heavy bunches of round, fleshy, pink to red-brown fruit that attracts birds.
The red currant is a fast-growing tree (up to 1 m per year) and can be grown in full sun or partial shade. It should be planted in well-drained, composted soil. It does not have an aggressive root system. It should be pruned from an early age if a single-stemmed specimen tree is desired; if left unpruned it will grow into a multi-stemmed large shrub. It will tolerate moderate frosts and is drought hardy.