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 creeping, with a few thick fibres. Stems 6-10 inches high, with a few ovate stalked leaves near the base. Spike unilateral, with small greenish white flowers; the lateral sepals shorter and more spreading than the upper sepal and petals.
Shady mountain woods; rather rare. July.
Central, Northern, and Arctic Europe, extending to the Caucasus and Altai; Northern Asia and America; Scotland.
Rootstock with a number of thick, fleshy branches, like those of Coralroot. Stem 6 inches high, pale, with a few small sheathing bracts. Flowers 3 or 4 in a loose raceme, rather large, pale yellow with purplish markings, pendulous with the lip upwards, it being large, ovate and somewhat concave.
Scattered over Europe and Northern Asia; Alps, Jura, Vosges, Central Pyrenees, Caucasus. Very rare in England.
Rootstock a dense mass of thick, succulent fibres. Stem about a foot high, pale brown like the few loose sheathing scales which take the place of leaves. Spike rather dense, 3 or 4 inches long, with 2 or 3 distant flowers below it, all pale brown. Sepals broadly ovate, nearly acute, petals more obtuse, lip twice as long, deeply forked at tip into 2 oblong, spreading lobes.
In the humus of shady woods up to at least 4500 feet, as above Engleberg; widely spread. June.
Europe, Caucasus, Western Asia. British.
The only species. Not strictly sub-alpine, though found in mountain woods in Switzerland and throughout the Jura. Whole plant of a violet tinge, 1-2 feet high. Leaves reduced to sheathing coloured scales. Flowers large, violet. Sepals and petals sub-campanulate. Lip entire, concave, spurred.
Mountain woods and clearings; parasitical upon the roots of trees. Flowering in May on the Mediterranean and in June and July in the Alps and Jura. Often seen in pine woods above the Riviera.
Switzerland (Grisons, Tessin, Bern, rare), Jura, France, Pyrenees, Corsica, Styria, Central and Southern Europe; Algeria, Asia Minor.
Rootstock a mass of short, thick, fleshy, obtuse, and nearly white fibres. A slender plant 6-8 inches high, pale brown or yellowish, tinged with green below, with a few short sheathing scales instead of leaves. Flowers small,-yellowish green, in a short, rather lax head. Sepals narrow-lanceolate. Lip oblong, white and hanging, very feebly 3-lobed.
Woods, especially in the mountains, parasitical upon the roots of Beech, and extending to the sub-alpine zone (e.g. Engleberg). June, July.
Scattered over Central and Northern Europe, Russian Asia and N. America. In Europe extending from N. Italy and the Pyrenees to the Arctic regions; Scotland.