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.
Rhizome short. Stem 4-12 inches high, flexuous, feebly striated, glandular pubescent, and foetid like the whole plant. Leaves as broad as long, somewhat triangular; leaflets small, toothed, usually densely pubescent, rarely glabrous; foliage like Maidenhair fern except in colour. Flowers yellow, pendent, in a much-branched panicle. Carpels rounded at the base, oval-orbicular with prominent ribs. Another polymorphic species found in rocky places among the mountains up to 8000 feet. June to August. It is very common about Zinal.
Alps of Central Europe, Eastern Pyrenees, Central and Northern Asia.
Roots tuberous, spindle-shaped. Plant distinguished from all other species of Thalictrum by its flowers having 4 or rarely 5 large yellowish white sepals.
Dry, rocky places up to 4000 feet in the Pyrenees, Corbieres and Spain.
The European species of Thalictrum are easily naturalised in Britain in almost any soil, and readily increased from seed or by division in early spring. T. aquilegifolium is particularly ornamental in gardens, and likes shade and a light soil.
Rootstock perennial. Leaves radical. Involucral bracts compound and often leaf-like. Flowers usually solitary. No petals. Sepals 5 or more, coloured and petal-like, longer than the stamens, which are numerous. Carpels numerous, 1-seeded, often ending in a long feathery awn.
A large genus of some 85 species, found in most of the temperate regions of the world, and chiefly characterised by the three ' leaves ' placed in a whorl from half-way up the stem to very near the flowers, according to the species.
Root short, fibrous. Stem naked, velvety. Leaves leathery, heart-shaped at the base with 3 equal lobes, often purple below, persistent and with long petioles. Flowers blue, rose, or white, solitary. Involucre of 3 oval, entire leaflets, resembling a calyx. Sepals 6-9, glabrous. Carpels covered with tomentum, with short, glabrous beak.
1. PHYTEUMA BETONICIFOLIUM.
2. GNAPHALIUM SYLVATICUM.
3. PHYTEUMA SPICATUM.
4. ANEMONE HEPATICA.
5. PHYTEUMA ORBICULARE.
4/7 NATURAL SIZE.
The blue form is the commonest, and it is abundant in shady places and woods among the hills, especially on jurassic limestone. In the Eastern Pyrenees it flourishes from about 2500-4500 feet. March to June, according to situation.
Nearly all Europe; Siberia, North America.
In Mr. Flemwell's Alpine Flowers and Gardens, where is a most delicate picture of Hepatica in the woods at Bex,in the Rhone Valley, he says: ' As the snow recedes, the brown bed of the pine forests is decked with myriads of Hepatica; their thick clusters of mauve-blue blossoms, relieved here and there by the rarer forms of white and rose, glint gaily among the sombre tree-trunks, creating a veritable laughing fairyland where, usually, all is sedate, if not actually gloomy.' In gardens it likes a deep, light soil, with some leaf-mould, and should be disturbed as little as possible.