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.
A hairy-glandular, robust plant, 6-12 inches high. Flowers large, white, tubular, with very narrow petals. Sepals lanceolate-acute. Rosette-leaves on a winged petiole with 1 nerve, sub-orbicular in outline, with 3-5 almost oval divisions which are entire or toothed.
Rocky places in the Pyrenees and Corbieres.
A viscous, glandular plant, about 6 inches high, with 3-9 large, white, tubular flowers. Stem branched, and forming a loose corymb. Leaves cuneate or fan-shaped, 3-5 cleft, with each lobe 3-cleft again; upper leaves simple. Petals 3-nerved, linear-lanceolate, at least twice as long as the very acute sepals, and suddenly contracted into a claw.
Granitic rocks in shady and rather moist places, from 5000-7800 feet; very rare. July.
Piedmont and Liguria; Maritime Alps, Transylvania, and rarely in Switzerland in the Binn and Monte Rosa districts. In habit and size of flowers, but not in the leaves, this resembles the Pyrenean S. geranioides.
Leaves of shoots entire and 3-cleft, narrow, linear, and pointed, those of rosettes 3-5 cleft, glabrous or more or less ciliate. Stems 3-6 inches long, with very few linear leaves, and from 1-6 rather large white flowers. Calyx-segments pointed and not one-third as long as the petals.
Rather moist, rocky places in the limestone mountains of Western Europe, descending sometimes to low, hilly districts. Abundant in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern England, but very local in the south, as e.g. at Cheddar Cliffs. May to July.
Much stouter than the last and covered with short, glandular hairs, and never with the procumbent, barren shoots of that species; the leaves are broader, more obtuse, and more frequently lobed (3-5 segments), and the calyx-lobes are obtuse. The leaves form very dense green tufts, closely packed together. Flowering-stems 2-3 inches high, usually covered with short, glandular, downy hair, and bearing 1 or 2 white flowers, or occasionally more, in a loose terminal cluster. Flowers smaller than in hypnoides, being about twice as long as the obtuse sepals.
Rocks and stony mountains in Northern and Arctic Europe, and in very small quantity on one or two high Scotch summits. May to July.
A very protean species, with the habit and lower leaves of S. hypnoides, and like it in sending out long sterile runners. Stem-leaves often trifid; root-leaves with a narrow petiole, flat, with 3-5 linear-lanceolate divisions, mucronate. Flowers 2-9 in a loose panicle. Sepals lanceolate. Petals oboval, with 3 greenish veins, twice as long as sepals or longer.
Rocky hills in North-Western and Central Europe, and possibly in Britain, as on Snowdon. June to August.
Stem 6-12 inches high with a single perfoliate leaf below the middle, with a solitary terminal flower. Root-leaves rather long-stalked, broadly heart-shaped, acuminate, entire, glabrous. Flowers white, large. Petals obovate, beautifully veined, spreading, twice the length of the sepals, which are ovate and spreading. Imperfect stamens at base of each petal, with a tuft of 10-12 white filaments, each bearing a small, yellow, globular gland. Capsule globular, 3-4 valved.
Damp heaths and bogs and wet places from sea-level in England to 8000 feet in the Alps. But mostly sub-alpine. August, September.
Central and Northern Europe, W. Asia, Thibet, Japan, N. America. Common in Norway to above the birch limit.
This very beautiful and hardy plant might be much more cultivated in bogs with heaths, etc., below the rockery. It has disappeared from several places in the south of England, but can still be seen within seven miles of the centre of Birmingham. It is very common in Switzerland.
One simple leaf, an emerald heart,
Closes around its slender stem; Not all the witchery of art,
Could fashion such a faultless gem. - Alfred Hayes.