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.
Stems 1-1 1/2 feet, slender, erect, leafy, jointed, usually cylindrical like the leaves. Leaf-sheaths sharply keeled. Cyme with erect branches. Perianth-segments all about the same length, blunt, outer ones mucronate, purplish brown. Capsule glossy black, obtuse, but mucronate, rather longer than the perianth.
Moist meadows and marshy Alps and sub-Alps; 4000-6500 feet; and rarely descending to the Swiss plains. July to September.
Alps, Jura, Vosges, Cevennes, Corbieres, Pyrenees, Central Europe, Western Asia, N. America, N. Britain.
Extremely variable in size and habit. Stems 4-18 inches high. Rhizome short. Leaves sheathing the stem below, hollow and cylindrical upwards, divided inside by cross partitions of pith which give a jointed appearance. Flowers in small clusters of 3-10 arranged in compound, terminal panicles. Outer bracts usually end in a short, fine leaf. Perianth-segments either all pointed or the inner ones obtuse. Capsule rather pointed, either shorter or more usually longer than the perianth.
Wet, and especially wet stony places; abundant. June to September.
Europe, Asia, Africa, N. America. British.
A small species 3-6 inches high. Leaves radical, short, and grasslike, sheathing the base of the stem. Flowers brown, in a single terminal cluster of 2 or 3 and rarely 5. Perianth-segments obtuse, scarious at the edges. Capsule obtuse, longer than the perianth.
Mountain bogs and wet Alpine pastures, from 5000-8000 feet.
-Alps, Pyrenees, Central and Northern Europe; Northern Asia and America. Rare in Britain.
Perennial herbs, differing from Juncus in their softer, flatter, grass-like leaves, often fringed with silky hairs, and in their capsules not divided into cells, and with not more than 3 erect and much larger seeds. They mostly grow in drier places than Rushes.
Plant 2-10 inches high. Leaves short, yellowish green, glabrous, linear-lanceolate, shortly acuminate, broad for their length. Cyme of dense clusters, spreading. Flowers pale yellow, sessile. Perianth-divisions equal, shortly mucronate. Capsule oval, acute, shorter than the perianth.
Common in damp pastures and on slopes of debris; 5000-gooo feet. July, August. Prefers siliceous soil.
Tyrol, Switzerland, Western Alps as far south as Provence, Italy, Spain, Pyrenees.
Rootstock stoloniferous. Leaves with silky hairs. Flowers yellowish, in ones or twos, at the end of spreading branches, forming a loose terminal cyme.
Shady fir woods on limestone; 2500-6000 feet. June, July.
-Alps, Pyrenees, Corsica.
Rootstock tufted. Stems 9-18 inches high. Leaves broadly linear, silky. Outer perianth-segments acute; inner ones obtuse, mucronate. Capsule broadly ovate-conical, about the length of the perianth.
Woods, from the plains to the lower mountains. May, June.
Central and Southern Europe, Western Asia, N. Africa. British.
Stem slender, rather shorter. Leaves broadly linear; stem-leaves shorter and narrower. Pedicels reflexed after flowering. Perianth-segments lanceolate, acute, shorter than the obtuse, conical, and shortly mucronate capsule.
Woods; very common. April to June.
Europe, temperate Asia, and N. America.
The largest species 1-3 feet high, with strong, thick stems and broadly linear leaves (1/2 inch or more broad) a foot or more long and very hairy at the borders. Flowers in small clusters of 2 or 3, in a large loose compound panicle. Capsule about the length of the perianth.
Mountain woods, especially on limestone, up to 5000 feet. May, June.
The writer recently observed stunted specimens of this plant on the extreme summit of Carrantual, the highest mountain in Ireland.
Europe, Asia Minor, Caucasus. British Isles.
Stems 1 1/2-3 feet high, bearing a beautiful silvery white panicle of flowers; many flowers in a cluster. Capsule trigonous, globular, shorter than the perianth.
Mountain woods, clearings, and sub-alpine slopes; common. June, July.
Alps, Jura, Cevennes, Central France, Corbieres, Pyrenees.
This plant is well worth cultivating in gardens, for it is quite handsome. The seed is easily collected in August.