Nearly a month has gone by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I'm finding that teaching writing classes not only involves lots of time grading papers but also focuses my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but not focusing in the short run on material I want to post here. We'll see what develops. Let's just say, my cessation of blogging is not due to deterioration of my health. I might be back soon. It probably depends on how spring unfolds - wildflowers, lizards, interesting insects, etc., usually fire me up and prompt me to keep my camera batteries charged.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
Yellow violets are blooming in lots of places around Quincy, but the excitement comes from a closer look. There are at least four different species within a couple miles of my home in Quincy. The most recent one to bloom, and also the least common around these parts, is the Douglas' Violet (above and below), Viola douglasii. Besides the yellow flower with its rusty smudge on the backside of the petals, it is distinguished by parsley-like leaves.
Growing in the same area as the Douglas Violet is the Goosefoot Violet, Viola pinetorum. Not surprisingly, it is called the Pine Violet in some field guides, but then so are several other species. The common names of popular wildflowers often vary greatly from region to region, or even within a region. Hopefully, I've got the scientific names correct, although I do tend to get corrected by botanists around this time of year.
The first yellow species that I saw blooming around Quincy made its appearance several weeks ago on the Feather River College Nature Trail. That would be Shelton's Violet, Viola shletonii (below). It is still blooming beneath the tall pines and oaks along the trail, mostly coming up through oak leaf litter.
The last to bloom around here, with a much more restricted habitat, is the Stream Violet, Viola glabra. The large, heart-shaped leaves are easily mistaken for those of the Lemmon's Wild Ginger, and the two are often found growing together. The photo below was taken next to Boyle Creek just above town in Boyle Ravine. That's the only place I've seen this species around Quincy, but I'm sure it's found in similar habitat by many of the streams that flow into the valley.
In another few weeks we'll actually have violet violets blooming. By the side of the road out to Oakland Camp, very close to the site of the Mountain Lady Slippers, we'll be seeing the Western Dog Violet, Viola adunca. Then, around the same time or a little later, Macloskey's Violet, a white one, will be blooming out at Butterfly Valley Botanical Area. A good time to tiptoe through the violets.