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.
The Alpine "Sea-holly" or Reine des Alpes. A thistle-like plant, with erect, striated stem 1-2 1/2 feet high, bluish, like the upper involucral bracts. Leaves ciliate-spiny; root-leaves entire, cordate-lanceolate, dark green; stem-leaves amplexicaul, deeply incised, and the uppermost almost palmate. Involucre blue, multi-digitate, somewhat longer than the cylindrical umbel, and with stiff, bristly teeth.
Meadows and pastures in the limestone Alps, 5000-6000 feet. July, August. Local.
Switzerland, Jura, Western Alps, Carinthia, Carniola, Bosnia, Montenegro.
Leaves entire, simple, usually glabrous. General and partial involucres various; in Alpine species the partial involucre is large. Flowers small, yellow or green. Petals hooded, with an inflexed point. Styles short, reflexed.
Stem erect, simple, with only one linear-lanceolate leaf embracing the stem, or leafless. Root-leaves broadly linear, with one longitudinal nerve, and reticulate lateral nerves. Involucre of 1-3 bracts; partial involucre of 9-10 yellow bracts, connate to their middle, the apices only free. Principal ridges of fruit with membranous wings.
Dry, rocky places in the Alps 5000-7500 feet. July, August.
Tyrol, Carinthia, Switzerland, Western Alps.
Stem erect, simple or somewhat branched above, round, finely furrowed, glabrous like the whole plant. Leaves with longitudinal veins, acute, elliptical, and running down into a long leaf-stalk, the upper leaves lanceolate or ovate, acute sessile with a cordate amplexicaul base. Umbel 5-6 branched, general involucre 3-5 leaved, partial involucre 5-7 leaved; bracts ovate or elliptical, shortly apiculate. Ridges of the fruit narrow and furrows small.
Rocks and stony places in the Alps and sub-Alps up to 5000 feet.
Eastern, Central, and Western Europe. Bupleurum ranunculoides L.
An extremely variable species, subdivided into several subspecies and varieties and varying in height from 2 inches to a foot. Stem leafy and more or less branched. Radical leaves ovate or cordate; other leaves linear or linear-lanceolate. Partial involucre often twice as long as umbel, but very variable.
An erect shrub, 2-5 feet high. Leaves opposite, stalked, elliptical ovate or lanceolate, acuminate, nearly glabrous, entire; paler on the under side. Flower-stalk solitary, axillary, glabrous, 2-flowered, usually about an inch long and pendent. Flowers bright red, 2-lipped, saccate above. Ovaries 2, connate nearly to the calyx-limb, finally coalescing into an ovate-orbicular red double berry.
Calcareous lower Alps, up to 5700 feet. May, June.
Eastern, Central, and Western Alps, Jura, Cevennes, Corbieres, Pyrenees.