It is a small growing to 12 m tall. The are alternate, simple, 35 cm long and broad, and palmately lobed with five lobes, with a serrated margin. The are 46 mm diameter, with five reddish-green to brownish petals; they are produced in 510 cm long.
When not in fruit, the plant looks similar to the shrub, distinguished by a strong fragrance from leaves and stems. The is an edible 1 cm diameter, very dark purple in color, almost black, with a glossy skin and a persistent calyx at the apex, and containing several dense in nutrients. An established bush can produce up to 5 kilos of berries during summer.
Plants from are sometimes distinguished as a separate variety Ribes nigrum var. sibiricum, or even as a distinct species Ribes cyathiforme.