Shrubs, usually deciduous (Ribes speciosum semievergreen, R. viburnifolium evergreen). Leaves alternate, simple; stipules present; petiole present [absent]; blade lobed or cleft (unlobed in R. speciosum and R. viburnifolium), margins toothed [subentire]. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, usually racemes, sometimes corymbs or solitary flowers. Flowers bisexual (unisexual in R. diacanthum); perianth and androecium epigynous; hypanthium wholly or partially adnate to ovary, free distally; sepals usually 5 (R. speciosum 4), connate proximally; petals usually 5 (R. speciosum 4), distinct; nectary disc present; stamens (4-)5, antisepalous, inserted on hypanthium, free or adnate to hypanthium, distinct; anthers introrsely dehiscent by longitudinal slits; pistils 1, 2-carpellate; ovary partly to completely inferior, 1-locular; placentation parietal; ovules anatropous, bitegmic, crassinucellate; styles 2, distinct, connate proximally or nearly completely; stigmas 2, terminal, capitate. Fruits baccate. Seeds (3-)10-60, brown to black, fusiform to oblong-ellipsoid or ellipsoid; embryo straight; endosperm copious, oily, not starchy.