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.
Bulbs 1 or 2 in each sheath. Leaves 1-3, usually 2, the one from the larger bulb stouter, glabrous, trigonous, slightly furrowed, tubular towards the apex. Bracts 2, large, opposite, bulging in the middle, and 2 or 3 linear bracts in the branches of the umbel. Flower-stalks woolly. Flowers variable; the first have often only 4 perianth-segments and stamens, the latter ones only 5 segments, yellow within and at the margin, green without.
Rich soil in high Alpine pastures (often near chalets) up to 7500 feet; local. June, July.
Eastern, Central, and Western Alps.
The smallest species. A single linear root-leaf. Perianth-segments lanceolate-acuminate, with point curved outwards. Flowers 2-5 on glabrous pedicels. Bract solitary. Bulbs 2.
Alpine and sub-alpine pastures; rare. June.
Bulbs 2-4, without a common sheath. Plant downy, with glabrous pedicels. Stems 3-8 inches high. One solitary root-leaf, linear, narrower at each end. Stem-leaves 2, close to the umbel of 2-5 large flowers.
Fields and pastures. April, May.
Central and Southern Europe, including Switzerland.
Bulbous plants with radical leaves. Flowers blue, mauve, or rarely pink, in a terminal raceme. Stamens inserted on the perianth, below the centre of the segments. Capsule globular or trigonous, membranous.
Plant 6-10 inches high, with 2 linear-lanceolate, spreading leaves. Stem hollow. Inflorescence short, lax, few-flowered. Pedicels erect, the lower ones several times as long as the azure-blue flowers.
Hedges, orchards, and thickets. April.
Switzerland, France (except west and extreme south), S. Central Europe, extending to the Caucasus and Asia Minor.
In Switzerland this takes the place of our Bluebell (Endymion nutans), which is entirely absent from that country, though it appears in the lower Pyrenees.
Flowers large, solitary, on a leafy scape. Sepals and petals distinct. Stamens hypogynous. Stigma sessile, with spreading lobes. Leaves broad.
Stem about a foot high, with usually 3 linear-lanceolate-acuminate leaves and a single terminal yellow flower, drooping in the bud, nearly erect when fully out. Perianth-segments acuminate.
Fields, meadows, vineyards, etc., in colonies. May, June.
Central and Southern Europe, doubtfully native in Switzerland and still more so in England.
Stem about 9 inches high, with 2 narrow-lanceolate, acute leaves. 'Petals' shining on upper surface, lanceolate, acuminate, yellow, the outer ones reddish at the top.
Sub-alpine pastures; local. April, May. In Southern France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal it grows in the ordinary pastures.
Switzerland (rare), Central and Southern Europe, from Portugal to Tyrol.
The variety alpestris (Jordan) grows at a height of 6000-7000 feet in Dauphiny and the Maritime Alps.