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.
Stem woody and spreading. Leaflets in 3-5 pairs, oblong, the lowest pair close to the stem, and occupying the base of the petiole. Flowers yellow, in elegant heads of 5-8 florets. A small dwarf species.
Sunny limestone hills and rocky places. June, July.
France, Spain, Valais, Italy, N. Africa.
Readily known by its pretty pinkish white flowers, or, to be exact, the standard is pink, the wings white, and the keel white with dark purple at the tip. Stems recumbent or ascending, and often forming large masses extending several feet. Leaves with 6-11 pairs of leaflets, which are oblong to linear, glabrous.
Pastures, borders of woods, and waste places. Common in many parts of Europe and sometimes seen in the Alps up to 5000 or 6000 feet. May to August.
Central and Southern Europe, Western Asia as far as Persia.
In cultivation this rampant, quick growing plant must be kept in check, or it will "swamp" more delicate things.
Leaves pinnate, with a terminal leaflet, leaflets entire. Stipules scarious. Flowers red, purple or white in axillary spikes or racemes. Calyx-lobes subulate. Wings short. Keel obliquely truncate. Pod compressed, not jointed, often spiny, winged, or crested.
About 70 species, inhabiting Europe, temperate Asia, and Africa.
This is probably an Alpine variety of the Common Sainfoin, 0. vicicefolia Scop. (0. sativa Lamk.), with beautifully veined crimson flowers, but the blossoms vary considerably in colour. The stems are sub-decumbent, and the leaflets shorter and broader than in the other, and they are usually in 5 to 7 pairs.
Alpine and sub - alpine pastures up to 6500 feet; common. June to August.
Eastern, Central, and Western Alps, Jura, and most of mountainous Europe.
Leaflets oblong-elliptic, 13-20 pairs. Stem more or less prostrate. Flowers white, streaked with red. Pod pubescent, spiny, keeled, and strongly veined on both sides.
Sandy hills. Local. May, June.
Southern Switzerland (Tessin, Grisons, Valais), Pyrenees.
Stock with numerous stems branching at the base, short and tufted or spreading along the ground. Leaflets 9 to 15, rarely less, small, obovate, oblong, and glabrous, the lowest pair at a distance form the stem. Flowers yellow, 5 - 8 in an umbel, like those of Lotus corniculatus, but rather smaller and never tinged with red as the Lotus is, particularly in the mountains. Pod about an inch long, finely pointed, the notches of the inner edge broad and deep, and giving it an almost zigzag appearance.
Banks, pastures, and rocky places, especially on limestone, from the plains to the Alps. June, July.
Central, Southern, and Western Europe. British.