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.
Rhizome horizontal. Stem and whole plant about the size of the Wood Anemone, which it much resembles in habit as well as in habitat. Leaves spring far from the stem, with 3-5 shortly petioled segments; leaflets of the involucre shortly petioled and resembling true leaves. Flowers bright yellow, usually solitary, but sometimes in twos or threes. Sepals 5-8 oval. Carpels pubescent, with long glabrous beak.
Woods and meadows, and damp, shady places, and by streams, especially on a limestone soil. March to May.
Throughout France, including the mountains above the Riviera, though rare elsewhere in the South, and fairly spread through Europe, though rare in Switzerland except in the Jura; Western Asia.
Occasionally found in England and the south of Scotland, but is probably not indigenous. It is a useful plant to naturalise in shrubberies, but in this country it is rarely seen so fine as on the Continent, as, for example, in Savoy, in the neighbourhood of Aix-les-Bains,etc.
Root short with matted fibres. Stem 10-20 inches high or more, slender, downy. Leaves downy, cut into 5 rhomboidal segments, bi-trifid, toothed irregularly. Leaflets of the involucre stalked, resembling true leaves; peduncle always erect. Flowers white, large, solitary. Sepals 5-8, oval, silky outside. Carpels woolly, numerous, forming a tight oblong head.
Woody places and stony hills; rare. May, June.
North of France, Alsace-Lorraine, Central Europe, Southern Sweden, Caucasus, Russia, Western Asia. In Switzerland only in Canton Bale.
A very ornamental plant for the borders of shrubberies and shady places in gardens; and it looks particularly well with large ferns in a rockery.
Radical leaves usually wanting at time of flowering. Involucral bracts 3, petioled, with simple, broadly lanceolate and regularly serrated segments. Flowers solitary. Sepals usually 6, oblong, glabrous beneath, white, but very rarely blue (var. coerulescens Hausm.).
Bushy places and woods up to about 5500 feet. June, July.
Southern Tyrol to Carinthia, where it is often abundant. Woods, pastures, and chestnut-groves in Liguria, at about 2000 feet. According to Moggridge it replaces A. nemorosa along the coast from San Remo to Genoa, while the Wood Anemone usually grows higher among the mountains [Flora of Mentone, etc.).
Rootstock thick, and extending into a long, fibrous tap-root. Stem 6-18 inches high. Root-leaves ternate, bipinnatifid, with deeply cut segments. Involucral bracts ternate, shortly stalked, and resembling the root-leaves. Flowers solitary, white, often tinged with blue below, large, but variable in size, and blossoming before the leaves are fully developed. Sepals usually 6. Carpels, as well as the very long awn or beard, villous. The heads of feathery seeds of this and A. sulphurea form conspicuous objects in late summer. The seeds are at first reddish brown, and arranged spirally, and they all turn upwards stiffly; then they gradually bend horizontal and downwards, and the colour becomes a dull mauve.
Pastures and rough ground on steep slopes in the Alps and sub-Alps, especially on calcareous soil. May to July, remaining till August in the higher situations.
Carpathians, Eastern, Central and Western Alps, Vosges, Jura, Auvergne, Erzgebirge, Pyrenees, Corsica, Caucasus, North America.