Friday, October 14, 2011

Native Plant of the Week: Golden Alexanders ~ Zizia aurea

Golden Alexanders ~ Zizia aurea


Although this is a spring flowering native perennial, it's worth featuring this time of year for its fall foliage color.

The leaves and stems of Golden Alexander turn a bright maroon color in the fall giving it two seasons of interest.

A native of both sunny and shady sites, it prefers well drained soils that range from medium to moist conditions.
Golden Alexanders are a great native addition to the landscape because they flower early in the spring, starting as early as the second week of May in the upper Midwest.

The clusters of yellow flowers are arranged in an umbel. The small flowers provide much needed nectar and pollen for emerging native bees.

This native also falls in the Parsley or Carrot family (Apiaceae) and is a larval host to Swallowtail Butterflies.

Golden Alexanders make a spring prairie landscape come alive. They respond wonderfully after a burn. This photo shows a prairie landscape in early June after a late fall burn.

Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).
2011. 
North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C.



Golden Alexanders are native to eastern North America. See map for range.