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.
Rather dwarf herbs, with pinnate leaves and yellow, red, or purple flowers, in crowded heads, with a deeply divided bract close underneath. Stipules small or o. Calyx inflated, with 5 small teeth. Stamens united in an entire sheath. Pod enclosed in the calyx.
A small genus, chiefly from the Mediterranean region.
Stem woody at the base, ascending, 6-12 inches high, tufted, covered with silky wool like the whole plant. Leaflets in 8-20 pairs, all the same size. Bracts shorter than the head of flowers, which is about 1 inch in diameter. Flowers 15-16 mm. long, rose-coloured. Calyx with plumose, unequal teeth, suddenly spreading. Occasionally the flowers are a deep carmine.
Rocks and hot stony places on limestone from 4500-6500 feet. May to July.
Jura, Central and Western Alps, Cevennes. Pyrenees, Algeria. Very rare in Switzerland (Saleve).
In cultivation it is best planted between blocks of limestone in a well-drained, sunny position.
Radical leaves with 1-4 leaflets; stem-leaves with 4-10 small leaflets, the terminal one being large. Calyx greatly swollen, with oblique mouth and short triangular teeth. Petals golden yellow or, in the Alps, nearly white (var. alpestris Heg.) [Plate XVII.], or partly blood-red (var. rubriflora Koch =A. Dillenii Schultz). A polymorphic species.
Pastures and dry hillsides, sometimes very abundant and covering large areas. May to August.
Europe, Western Asia, N. Africa. In Norway it almost reaches the birch limit.
Leaves pinnately or palmately 4-5 fid. Stipules minute or o. Calyx not inflated, 2-lipped or with 5 nearly equal teeth. Flowers usually yellow, in capitate or umbellate, axillary cymes. Legume septate between the seeds. About 50 species widely distributed over the world.
A small glabrous plant, 3-8 inches high, tufted, but very variable in habit. Leaves very shortly petioled. Flowers very shortly pedicelled, bright yellow, often streaked with crimson and turning green when dry, 5-10 flowers in a decumbent umbel or head about an inch across, on long peduncles; 2 upper calyx teeth triangular. Pods about an inch long.
Pastures from the plains to 9000 feet (var. alpinus Schl.) in the Alps. May to July.
Europe, to the Arctic regions, N. Africa, N. and W. Asia, India.
Herbs with pinnate leaves and flowers in axillary cymes or spikes, without leafy bracts. Stipules entire at the base. Calyx with 5 teeth. Petals usually narrow. Keel obtuse. Stamens diadelphous. Pod cylindrical or inflated, usually divided lengthwise by a complete or partial partition proceeding from the side of the keel.
One of the largest genera known (about 900 species), distributed all over Europe, Central and Northern Asia, N. America, and down the Andes of S. America. Some penetrate far into the Arctic.