Viola douglasii (Douglas’ violet)

This violet was ubiquitous my last visit to the foothills.  Though the flowers are just an inch or so in diameter, they seemed scandalously large relative to all the other tiny little annuals dotting the woodland.  While there are many yellow violets in our parts, the dissected leaves of Douglas’ violet help to narrow identification to species.  David Douglas was a Scottish botanist who made several expeditions to the western United States in the early 19th century.  He collected and brought back to Europe many, many seeds and specimens that became important horticulturally (California poppy, baby blue-eyes), and was honored for his work by having many, many more species named for him, this little violet among them (also Douglas-fir).  Here’s a nice biography from a California Academy of Sciences publication.

  • Species: Viola douglasii (Douglas’ violet)
  • Plant Family: Violaceae
  • Where I saw it: oak woodlands, Finley Lake, Tehama County
  • Look also: vernally wet meadows

Where else have you seen me?

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