Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Crazy Name and No Photo

I drove by one of my favorite little pit stops near Keddie on my way to Greenville.  Fortunately, there was a logging truck riding my rear bumper so I used the turnout and decided to see if there were any signs of Indian Rhubarb in the adjacent creek.  No.  Either too early or too little water.  Anyway, I roamed around a bit and came across a patch of blooming Stout-beaked Toothwort.  This early spring member of the mustard family has the sort of name that always stimulates my etymology urge.  Today is a very busy teaching day, so I think tomorrow, in celebration of April Fool's Day, I'll post a photo and some words about crazy biological names.  You'll have to wonder if I'm fooling you - or, do your own etymological research. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The name game

Later, I'm going to update a message I posted about this flower a year ago.  It's plentiful in spots at Quincy roadsides.

Seen around Quincy on Saturday

 Text coming soon.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Making Lawns More Interesting

 I've never cared for monocultures whether they be the creation of industrial-scale agriculture or the typical suburban lawn.  I know the importance of biodiversity, but here I'm thinking in terms of aesthetics.  I find large expanses of lawn boring.  So, when Feather River Colleges large expanses of the green stuff get punctuated by outbreaks of Filaree, Henbit Dead Nettle (above and below) and various tiny wildflowers I haven't yet identified, I get excited and bring my camera and field guides to work every day.
 This patch of small white blossoms is in one of the irrigation ditches on campus - actually, not an irrigation ditch but a tamed creek. It might be Meadow Foam.  Not sure yet.  Will have to add copies of Jepson and Munz to my travel bag.
 This last photo I call Feral Violets.  There's a smattering of them in the lawns between the buildings on the upper campus.  I don't think they're a wild species.  At least I haven't found them in my field guides.  I think they're escapees from a landscaping project.
In yesterday's post, I featured yellow blossoms on campus.  I should add that the Shelton's Violets and Pine Violets are getting more plentiful, and the next few weeks should be great for spring wildflowers.  It's time for the arrival of the lilioids.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Color of the day: Yellow

 My day started with the discovery of a fresh layer of yellow pollen on my windshield.  Fortunately, no allergies erupted.  Then, as soon as I parked on the FRC campus, I was amazed at the abundance of yellow blossoms.  There are daffodils, obviously planted by humans, Oregon Grape (above and below), which is a natural wild shrub but is also often planted by humans,
 Forsythia (the next three photos) blooming all around Quincy as well as on campus, and

 ... the ubiquitous, but still beautiful, Dandelions.
There are some interesting, small, pink and red flowers too, but the yellow is what caught my attention.  To top it all off, as I was walking toward my office I met one of my colleagues who was photographing the Forsythia with a yellow camera!  That's the first yellow camera I ever saw. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nuts to you, and other trailside fun

 6,000 words, more or less. Sunday, March 22.

FRC Nature Trail is awakening for Spring

 The shady section of the Feather River College Nature Trail has a few spring wildflowers blooming and the early leaves of quite a few more.  Last week I walked the upper portion of the trail that gets a lot more sun and found many Shelton's Violets and Spring Whitlow Grass blooming.
 In the shady, the prettiest green spots, to me, were the young Bedstraw (above).
 I love to see the windfalls, especially the larger logs, left on the ground to host a variety of fungi, lichens, and invertebrate life as they gradually become soil over the years.  This bracket fungus on a fallen Douglas-fir was particularly impressive.
 The Gooseberries are blooming along the trail nearest the buildings of the upper campus.
 And the last thing I photographed on this day was a long Shelton's Violet.

Jay's Magical Yard

 Dutchman's Pipevine.  A most interesting vine in the Birthwort family, Aristolochiaceae.  I've only seen it in the lower reaches of the Feather River Canyon and on down to Bidwell Park.  But, my flower-loving friend Jay Wright brought a "starter" up from the canyon a few years ago, and "Voila!"  It's thriving, as it climbs on a Dogwood tree in his yard.  An interesting phenomenon: lasat year the whole vine only bore two flowers.  Today, I stopped by after receiving an excited phone call from Jay.  THere must be a thousand blossoms!
 Click on this photo for an even closer view.  This exciting-looking flower has a history of medicinal uses (as suggested by the family name) and is host to the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, and has an interesting way of briefly holding its insect pollinators captive while dusting them with pollen then releasing them to carry the pollen to other flowers.
 THe above cluster, of which there were many on this one plant, reminded me of the grape vines in front of Patti's Thunder.  Too many blossoms to count.  Very impressive.
 Another point of interest is the Fritillaries.  Jay planted one bulb a few years ago, and now he has a half dozen of these spotted flowers (above) and a few albinos (below) from the same original bulb.  We had fun speculating on how this happened.  Seeds?  Subterranean roots?  Maybe both?
 In this lasat photo, I was in the mood to play with the light.  I call it Birthwort Abstract.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Arrives on Spanish Traverse Trail

 Flowers along the Spanish Traverse and Spanish Ridge Trails in the South Park system taken Sunday, March 22.  More text in the morning.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Table Mountain, Part 5

 Descriptive Text coming soon.