This section is from the book "Sub-Alpine Plants Or Flowers Of The Swiss Woods And Meadows", by H. Stuart Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Sub-Alpine Plants: Or, Flowers of the Swiss Woods and Meadows.
Annual or perennial shrubby plants covered with hoary tomen-tum. Leaves entire or sinuate. Flowers usually purple or lilac, never yellow, rather large. Petals spreading, on long erect claws. Pod long and narrow. Stigmas sessile, erect, sometimes with a horizontal horn at the base of each.
Mostly sea-coast plants from the Mediterranean and Western Europe, with two British species.
Stem very leafy at the base, about a foot high, though sometimes higher in older plants. Leaves linear, obtuse, entire, covered with glandular and stellate hairs, lengthened at the base and dilated into a sheath. Flowers reddish violet or mauve. Pod compressed, tomentose. Stigma bilobed.
Found in 1903, by the writer, in a wood above Carcanieres, Pyr. Or., at about 4000 feet.
Dry, rocky places in the sub-Alps, very rare. May to July.
Formerly only known to grow in the Valais on the Simplon and near Binn in the Maurienne and possibly in Tyrol; but Prof. Chodat has recorded it from Susa near Turin and in the Cogne Valley.1
Petals purple or lilac. Fruit very large, flat, oval, or oblong, lengthened into a false pedicel above the real pedicel. Valves without nerves. Seeds few.
Only 2 species inhabiting Europe and Western Asia.
Stem about 3 feet high, erect, branched at the top, generally, though not always, glabrous. Leaves petioled ovate-cordate, finely toothed. Flowers violet, veined, sweet-scented. Pods oblong-elliptic, pointed at both ends, drooping finally.
Mountain woods up to 5000 feet. May to July.
Almost all Europe, from Portugal to Sweden and Russia; Siberia. Very local in Switzerland as, e.g. in woods near Engelberg and on the Saleve near Geneva.
It might be grown in shady gardens and at the back of big rockeries underjtrees.
The only other species is the well-known ' Honesty ' L. biennis Moench. It grows in Switzerland about Orsieres and Lugano, etc., but probably as an escape from gardens. Native in S.W. Europe.
Erect herbs, more or less hairy, with toothed leaves and handsome purple flowers. Sepals saccate. Pods long and linear. Stigma oblong, erect, and shortly divided into 2 lobes.
A small genus confined to Europe and Northern Asia.
Stems 2-3 feet high, slightly branched. Leaves shortly stalked or tapering at the base, toothed, ovate-lanceolate or lanceolate, 2-3 inches long, the upper ones smaller. Flowers large, white or lilac-violet, usually fragrant in the evening. Pods 2-4 inches long, almost cylindrical, but contracted between the seeds.
Hedges, woods, thickets, and watersides in the plains and lower mountains. May to June. Probably naturalised in Switzerland as in England.
Central and Southern Europe, Northern and Western Asia. Often cultivated in cottage gardens.
1 Chodat et Pampanini, "Sur la distribution des plants des Alpes Austro-Orientales" in Le Globe (Geneve), 1902, p. 50.