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.
Rootstock oblique, premorse, with branching fibres. Stem erect, 4-12 inches high, simple, with several leaves at the base, villous like the leaves, and bearing a terminal 3-6 flowered umbel. Root-leaves stalked, palmate, 3-5 partite, sparsely villous or glabrous on the upper side; the segments usually doubly 3-cleft. Bracts 3-4, sessile, smaller and less divided than the root-leaves and often only 2-3 cleft. Sepals usually 5, glabrous on both sides. Flowers white, often tinted with pale rose, 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch in diameter; seed-vessel erect. Carpels not bearded, very shortly beaked.
Alpine pastures and steep, partially wooded banks and hillsides; but nearly always on calcareous soil, from 3000 to 6800 feet, and often covering large tracts. End of May to August, according to situation.
Eastern, Central and Western Alps; Erzgebirge, Vosges, Jura, Pyrenees, Transylvania, Balkans, Caucasus, Western and Central Asia; Steppes of Russia and Siberia; North America.
This beautiful Anemone likes rich, loamy soil, with plenty of leaf-mould mixed with lime. Care should be taken to get up the whole root of this and other members of the genus if success is to be expected from collected specimens.
Root tuberous, blackish. Stem 6-10 inches high, slender, glabrescent. Leaves resembling those of the common Wood Anemone; bracts of the involucre petioled, having the appearance of leaves. Peduncle erect. Flowers pale blue, solitary. Sepals 10-15, almost linear. Carpels shortly pubescent, elliptic, with glabrous beak.
Southern Europe; Italy, Corsica, Dalmatia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Corfu. Occasionally it is found in plantations and woods in England, but is certainly not native.
It looks best in large clumps, and is a very ornamental plant for open shrubberies and glades, and for establishing round the base of some tree which will allow the sun to open its flowers in spring, but protect it from the fiercer heat of summer. A top-dressing of leaf-mould and peat is beneficial.
Rhizome horizontal, nearly black, sending up 2 or 3 leaves at the extremity and a single flower-stalk, either glabrous or slightly downy. Leafstalks long, with 3 ovate or lanceolate leaflets, toothed or lobed. Peduncle 3 to 8 inches high, with involucral leaves at about two-thirds of its height, smaller, and on shorter stalks than the real leaves. Sepals 6, white, often bluish or pinkish outside, glabrous. Carpels downy, longly pointed, but not feathery.
Woods of the sub-alps and plains, damp meadows and broad hedges. March to May.
Sometimes seen growing in Switzerland up to 6000 feet, as e.g. on the Simplon Pass, where in June, 1908, we found it accompanied by the Sulphur Anemone. The colour of the sub-alpine forms is generally deeper than that of the plains.
Nearly all Europe; North - west Asia, North America. Abundant in Britain.