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.
Herbs with a short perennial rootstock and much-divided leafstalks, bearing distinct segments or leaflets. Sepals 4 or 5, small, coloured and petal-like, but no real petals. Stamens numerous, with long anthers projecting beyond the calyx. Carpels several, 1-seeded, furrowed. Flowers sometimes polygamous. A genus of about 70 species diffused over the northern hemisphere; variable and difficult to characterise.
Stem sometimes a yard high, robust, glabrous, finely furrowed. Leaves roundly triangular, 2-4 times pinnate, with membranous stipellse at the branches of the leaf-stalk, light green above, bluish green below; auricles of leaf-sheaths blunt; leaflets roundish, obovate or wedge-shaped, often oblique or cordate at the base, obtuse, crenate, 3-lobed or undivided. Flowers erect, in dense terminal cymes. Stamens erect. Carpels 3-edged, winged, stalked, pendent. Sepals and stamens in various shades of lilac, and sometimes nearly white; anthers yellowish.
1. Thalictrum Aquilegi Folium.
2. Rhododendron Ferrugineum.
3. Linum Tenuifolium. (With White Variety).
4.7 NATURAL SIZE.
Rich upland meadows of the lower Alps, descending far into the plains, in meadows or margins of woods, etc.; often in stony places and ravines with Rhododendron, and ascending to 6000 feet. May to August.
Carpathians; Eastern, Central and Western Alps; Black Forest, Vosges, Jura, Pyrenees, and almost all mountainous Europe, including Southern Scandinavia; Northern Asia.
A most variable species; in dry limestone soils usually only about a foot high, of a glaucous colour or slightly downy; in moist situations it is larger and greener, with stems often 3 feet high, flexuous, furrowed, glaucous, glabrous or pubescent-glandular. Leaves large, with leaflets glaucous below and rather large. Flowers yellow, pendent, in branched leafy panicles, flower-stalks slender. Carpels oval, with longitudinal ribs.
Rocky places in the hills, chestnut groves and fields, especially in the sub-alpine district. June and July. Well worth cultivating for its beautiful foliage, resembling robust and wiry Maidenhair fern.
Europe, Russian Asia, Africa, Alaska (British).
Root slender, creeping. Stem 2-4 inches high, almost naked, simple. Leaves radical, glabrous; leaflets oboval, 3-cleft, crenate, greyish green. Flowers in a simple terminal raceme, greenish yellow, pendent; flower-stalks recurved. The smallest of the genus.
Moist Alpine and sub-alpine pastures, rare; 3300-8000 feet. June to August.
Eastern, Central and Western Alps; in Switzerland only in Grisons; Eastern and Central Pyrenees, Caucasus, Northern Europe and Asia (British).
In Norway it reaches about 3400 feet.