In this paper I analyse Backhuys’ (1968) data on altitudinal distributions of 23 plant species on 108 mountain tops in the Swiss alps with which he shows the existence of the elevation effect in that area. However, when using the whole distribution of the frequency of occurrence at different elevations instead of the one value of the lower range limit only, I come to the conclusion that the proposed explanation for the elevation effect cannot be shown by the data assembled by him. Yet, the ideas behind this approach lead to the interesting perspective of the possibility to define these kind of distributions partly in static terms, and partly in dynamic ones. Thus far they have been looked at from a static point of view only.