This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Fibrous-rooted glabrous perennials with oblong-spathu-late leaves and naked umbellate scapes of flowers. Calyx deeply 5-cleft, lobes reflexed. Corolla - lobes long, narrow, reflexed. Stamens with short filaments and large conspicuous exserted anthers, forming a slender cone. Capsule 5-valved. This genus appears to be limited to North America, and consists of three or four species only. Name from twelve, and OEol, gods, of fanciful application.
1. D. Meadia (fig. 204). American Cowslip. Shooting Star. - A very handsome plant with wavy toothed leaves and rosy purple, white or lilac corollas, and yellow anthers, flowering in Spring.
Fig. 204. Dodecatheon Meadia. (1/4 nat. size.)
D. integrifolium is a much dwarfer species, having entire leaves and rather larger showy lilac-purple or crimson flowers; and D. Jeffreyanum, of recent introduction, is distinguished by-its greater stature, fleshy midribs of its very large leaves, and by the tetramerous not pentamerous flowers.
Soldanella alplna is an elegant diminutive mountain plant about 2 or 3 inches high with small petiolate rotundate cordate crenate glandular leaves, and 2- or 3-flowered bracteolate scapes. Corolla blue or lilac, campanulate, limb finely fringed, capsule splitting transversely. S. montana is a somewhat larger hairy plant; and S. minima and S. pusilla have one-flowered scapes, and more regular less deeply fringed corollas.