This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Perennial herbs, with basal and alternate lobed or digitately compound leaves, adnate stipules, and small perfect greenish cymose or capitate flowers. Calyx persistent, cup-shaped, contracted at the throat, 4-5-lobed, 4-5-bracteolate. Petals none. Stamens 4, alternate with the sepals; filaments short. Carpel usually solitary; style basal, slender. Achene enclosed in the calyx-tube. Seed ascending, its testa membranous. [Name from its fancied value in alchemy.]
About 10 species, natives of the Old World and of boreal America. Type species: Alchemilla vulgaris L.