University of Maryland Extension

Zizia aurea - Golden Alexander

Golden Alexander flower and foliageZizia aurea, golden Alexander, is a native herbaceous perennial that blooms from April to June with clusters of up to 20 tiny bright yellow flowers on a starburst flat-topped bouquet about 2-3 inches across. The flowers look a bit like Queen Anne’s lace in form. Plants are erect with branching reddish stems. The medium green basal leaves are compound with toothed leaflets as are the leaves on the stems. The plants can reach a height of 1.5 to 3 feet and spread up to 2 feet. They grow best in full sun with moist, well drained soils. Cold hardy from USDA zones 3-8, the plants can be utilized in rain gardens, native plant gardens, or in open woodland gardens. Flowers are a good source for cutting and attract a large number of native butterflies. The foliage is plant food for the caterpillar of the black swallowtail butterfly. There are no serious pest problems, but the foliage fades during the heat of summer. Golden Alexander is a short-lived perennial, but makes up for its short life by creating many seeds.

Article and photo by Ginny Rosenkranz, Extension Educator, Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset Counties, University of Maryland Extension
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