Who would have thought that the bright Yellow Alpine Pasque Flower is a subspecies of the White Alpine Pasque Flower? At first glance, the two species look so different that you would never confuse them, but they are so closely related that they even hybridise when they both grow in the same area.
The Yellow Alpine Pasque Flower is a well-known species and with its fine, feathery leaves it is one of the most elegant of all Alpine flora. The plant grows up to 50 cm tall, but it usually remains much smaller. The flowers can have a diameter of up to 6 cm and when they have bloomed, a fluffy spherical seed head forms known affectionately as “Haarmandli” (little hairy men).
Facts and Figures
The Yellow Alpine Pasque Flower is at home on acidic soils while the closely related Alpine Pasque Flower prefers alkaline calcareous soils. So the two species do not naturally occur on the same type of land. However, in areas where both acidic and alkaline soils occur, both species may be found. In this case, they then form numerous hybrid forms with flower colours ranging from dark yellow, pastel yellow and snow white.
In Switzerland, the Yellow Alpine Pasque Flower can be found wherever acidic soils predominate, particularly in areas with acidic base rock. They can be spotted here and there in the Gornergrat area but are a little more common on heathland populated by dwarf shrubs and larch forests in the Riffelalp region.