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.
Somewhat like the Cowslip, but with primrose or straw-coloured flowers, more erect than in the Cowslip, and somewhat larger, and longer leaves, less conspicuously veined and a duller green. Flowers not scented. Calyx-teeth triangular, acuminate, one-third the length of the calyx-tube.
Woods and pastures from the plains up to 7000 feet at least; common.
It flowers from March to May in the plains, and continues till July in the higher mountains.
Europe, especially Western and Central; Taurus, Caucasus. In Britain in East Anglia only.
Leaves oblong-spa thulate, green, to greenish grey beneath. Flowering-stem erect, simple, 6-10 inches high. Umbel many-flowered (3-30), yellow, with the throat spotted with orange. Bracts subulate. Calyx yellowish white, swollen, campanulate, with oval, sub-obtuse lobes.
Europe, Caucasus, Altai, Siberia.
Stem erect, 6-12 inches high, 3-12 flowered, [leafless, densely villous below like the leaf-stalks, covered in upper part, like the flower-stalks, with shorter, weaker hairs. Leaves radical, on long stalks, roundish cordate, 11 or 12-lobed, glabrous above, hairy below and on the margin. Lobes obtuse, coarsely toothed. Flowers in a loose, terminal umbel, nodding on one side. Corolla rose, becoming violet, faintly fragrant, with lanceolate, acute lobes. In-volucral bracts lanceolate, entire or serrate, or deeply toothed at the apex. Calyx glabrous, small, with 5 lanceolate, acute segments. The foliage of this plant is very handsome, and altogether it forms a useful and ornamental subject to plant in loam and leaf-mould or peat.
Damp, shady woods, moist spots on debris, or in ravines in the lower Alps up to 6500 feet; very local. May to July.
Eastern Alps, Switzerland (Grisons), and Western Alps of Savoy, Hautes-Alpes and Piedmont; Arctic Russia and Northern Asia.
Small Alpine herbs, appearing on the edge of the snow and sometimes flowering through the snow. Flowers solitary or in few-flowered umbels on long stalks, mauve or rarely white. Corolla campanulate, nodding, finely divided into many linear segments. Capsule 5-valved, each valve with 2 teeth.
Only 4 species, inhabiting Central Europe.
Stems erect, 3-6 inches high, leafless, glabrous or rough, with sessile glands or pubescent from gland-hairs. Leaves radical, dark green, shining, dotted on the under side and often tinged with purple, stalked, roundish cordate or reniform, coriaceous, glabrous, entire, margin wavy or shallowly crenate. Flowers usually nodding or pendent, in a terminal, 1-4 flowered umbel. Fruiting flower-stalk elongated, rigid, erect. Corolla campanulate, funnel-shaped, divided half-way down, bearing in the throat 5 ovate, membranous scales between the stamens and at their base. Anthers about twice as long as the filaments. Style shorter or longer than the corolla (dimorphic). A variable plant.
Moist Alpine pastures; 4000-9500 feet; common, and often in great quantities, both on limestone and slate. It appears immediately after the melting of the snow on the Alpine pastures. May to July.
Erzgebirge, Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Black Forest, Jura, Auvergne, Pyrenees.
Soldanella pusilla Baumg. rarely if ever descends to the sub-Alps. S. minima Hoppe. is also a more truly Alpine species, found in the Eastern Alps of Tyrol, etc., but not in Switzerland or France.