South Dakota Native Plant Research
Apiaceae : Zizia aurea

Apiaceae : Zizia aurea


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Family Name


Common Name

Golden Alexanders


Zizia aurea is a perennial herb, erect with simple or branching stems which grow from a fleshy root and attain 30 to 100 cm in height. The basal leaves are ovate, compound 6-10 cm long, bipinnate or the middle leaflet pinnately cleft. The leaflets are ovate to lanceolate, 2-5 cm wide and 1-3 cm wide, and finely toothed. The petioles are 10-15 cm long. The cauline leaves are alternate, are similar to the basal leaves, ternate or irregularly compound. The inflorescences are loose compound umbels 5-8 cm across, attached to a long peduncle (5-15 cm) each with 7 to 15 umbellets attached by unequal pedicels (1-4 cm long) to terminal umbels of 10-15 flowers. Each tiny (< 3 mm) flower has 5 petals that remain nearly closed. The fruit is an oblong schizocarp 3-4 mm long and 1.5-2 mm wide. Golden Alexanders bloom from May to July in low prairies, on the margins of ponds, ditches, and in open woodlands.

Additional Notes

Bees, butterflies, and beetles seek nectar and pollen from the flowers. Black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars feed on the foliage.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seeds when the fruit splits into 2 parts.

Germination: Plant in the fall for best results.

Soils: Moist, sandy or sandy-clay soils.

Light: Full Sun to shade.

Water: Moist

Apiaceae : Zizia aurea