Dwarf buttercup

(Ranunculus pygmàeus)

The dwarf buttercup is a circumpolar arctic-alpine floral element. Its dispersal areas are in North America, Asia and Europe. In the Central Alps, it is found occasionally. The low-competitive plant grows on snowy soil and is found in areas with short vegetation covered by snow well into summer. It is also found at the edge of glaciers or on moist rock ledges in Ötztal. It prefers siliceous subsoil and its altitudinal distribution is within the alpine zone.



The perennial plant reaches a diminutive growth height of 1-7 cm and has a tuberous rootstock. The stalks are pilose in spots. The basal leaves are kidney-shaped, the stem leaves lobate. The bright yellow flowers can reach diameters of up to 1 cm. The blooming period is from July to August.


Special features

This species integrated from the East into the Alpine region after the Ice Age. But only a few remnant populations could survive, which makes it particularly worth protecting.



The dwarf buttercup is an extreme rarity in Austria and according to the red list is “potentially endangered”. Possible causes for endangerment’s include tourism, climate change and too strong grazing.



Moser, Daniel M. (1999): Ranunculus pygmaeus; Merkblätter Artenschutz des ZDSF – Zentrum des Datenverbundnetzes der Schweizer Flora.

[Translate to en:] Zwerg-Hahnenfuß (Ranunculus pygmàeus) © Bjørn Erik Sandbakk