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.
Herbaceous plants with tuberous roots. Flowers red, rose, or white, often scented, nodding at the extremity of naked one-flowered scapes, which are coiled spirally after flowering. Corolla with 5 reflexed lobes. Stamens 5. Capsule with 5 reflexed valves. Leaves all radical, undivided.
About a dozen species inhabiting temperate Europe, Western Asia, and the Mediterranean district. Much cultivated for their beauty.
Tuber roundish, of varying size. Leaves stalked, orbicular-cordate, sinuate-crenate, coriaceous, often purplish beneath like the stems. Flower-stalk or scape coiled spirally downwards after flowering. Flowers purple-red, rarely white, entire at the throat, fragrant. Corolla-lobes revolute, acute.
Stony and bushy places, preferably limestone, in sub-alpine districts and the lower hills. August to October.
Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Moravia, Jura, Bavaria, Balkan States.
Leaves ovate-acuminate, deeply heart-shaped at the base, angular, sinuate, rolled in when young. Flowers scentless, purple-red, toothed at the throat, appearing before the leaves, very longly pedicelled.
Thickets on limestone hills; local. August to October.
Very rare in Switzerland (Valais); Western and Southern France from the Eastern Pyrenees to Haute-Savoie, Corsica, Italy. Southern Europe.
Stem erect, simple, 3-6 inches high, with a whorl of 5 or 6 leaves at the top, which are obovate or lanceolate, usually pointed, 1-2 inches long, and with 2 or 3 small alternate leaves lower in the stem. From the centre of the leaves 1-4 slender pedicels arise, each terminated by a single flower, white or very pale pink with a yellowish ring. Corolla rotate. Calyx-segments narrow. Stamens with slender filaments.
Peat bogs and damp woods; very local. May to July.
Very rare in Switzerland (Bernina, Poschiavo, Wildhaus, Zumdorf, etc.), Savoie (Albertville), Ardennes, Corsica, Southern Tyrol, Carniola, Central and Northern Europe; especially common in Norway and the Scotch Highlands; Northern Asia and Arctic America. British.
This plant, which grows almost at sea-level in England, is not infrequently seen in damp places in the lower Alps and Pyrenees, but it is rare in Switzerland. Leaves obovate, entire, dark green, glabrous like the whole plant, usually alternate. Stems 6-12 inches high. Flowers small, milk-white, in terminal racemes or corymbs. Stamens 5. Seed-vessels a 5-valved capsule.
Marshes, by ditches, and in the mountains on wet rocks, it having been observed on damp rocks by the writer in both Alps and Pyrenees at a considerable elevation. June to August.
Alps, Jura, Vosges, Pyrenees; most of Europe, and indeed in most temperate regions of the world. British.