Gooseberry, the common name of members of two similar genera of fruit-bearing shrubs that are related to the currant. One genus is native to both northern Europe and North America. Cultivated North American species are hybrids of European and mildewresistant native American species. The American gooseberry, a hybrid species, is three to four feet (90 to 120 cm) high. The tart, rounded berries are slightly smaller than cherries and may be green, purple, red, yellow, or white. American gooseberries are used in pies and are canned. The European gooseberry, a wild species, bears flavorful berries as large as plums. European gooseberries are eaten chiefly as raw fruit and in jams.
The Chinese gooseberry, belonging to the other genus, is native to China and Taiwan. It bears hairy, brown-skinned fruit, the size of an egg, with bright green flesh and a ring of tiny black seeds. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. It is raised commercially in New Zealand and California. In the United States and New Zealand it is commonly called kiwi fruit.
The American gooseberry is Ribes hirtellum; European, R. grossularia, or R. uva-crispa. Both are of the saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae. The Chinese gooseberry is Actinidia chinensis of the family Actinidiaceae.Gooseberries are oval, tart fruits closely related to currants.