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.
Mostly annuals, and either climbing or procumbent. Leaves with many entire or emarginate leaflets, usually ending in a tendril.
Stipules half sagittate. Flowers in axillary racemes. Wing-petals adnate to the keel. Style inflexed, cylindrical, or flattened; ovules usually many. Legume compressed, two-valved.
A large genus of about 120 species inhabiting the northern hemisphere and S. America. The nomenclature of certain groups is obscure and vague, and the genus should be monographed.
A small perennial species about 4-6 inches high. Stem ascending. Lower leaves have 1-2 pairs of obcordate leaflets, upper have 4-6 pairs of wedge-shaped leaflets, truncate. Stipules entire. Flowers rich violet, large, axillary, solitary, subsessile. Calyx glabrescent, with almost equal teeth shorter than the tube. Standard very large. Pod broadly linear, glabrous, blackish when ripe. Seeds brown.
Pastures up to 6500 feet. June, July.
Pyrenees, Spain, Hautes-Alpes and Basses-Alpes. Quite suitable for planting in sunny, open positions on the rockery.
Stems 1-2 feet high. Stipules small and entire or larger and toothed. Leaflets in 4-6 pairs, ovate or oblong; leaf-stalk often ending in a branched tendril. Flowers pale reddish purple, forming a sessile cluster or very short raceme. Pod glabrous, about an inch long.
Bushy places and woods, from the plains up to 5000 feet in Switzerland. May to September.
Europe and Russian Asia. From the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle, reaching the birch limit in Norway. British.
A tall, climbing, glabrous species. Leaflets in 4-5 pairs, oval-obtuse. Stipules toothed. Flowers purplish and then dirty yellow-red, rather small, 3-8 in a loose spike, often longer than the leaves. Pod 35-40 mm. long by about 8 broad, pointed, glabrous, fawn-coloured at maturity.
Woods in the mountains. June to September.
Jura, Eastern France, Switzerland, Central and Eastern Europe from Sweden to Turkey.
A large climber with big oval leaflets in pairs of 4 or 5, and rather small greenish yellow flowers. It grows in limestone woods, but is rare in the Alps, though widely spread in Central and Eastern Europe.
This British Vetch is occasionally met with as high as 6500 feet in Switzerland, as, e.g. below the Triibsee, near Engelberg, where it assumes a dwarf, tufted habit and grows with Hedysarum obscurum and Lilium Martagon on a steep, stony slope. Flowers white, veined with blue or violet. Mountain woods in North, Central and Eastern Europe.