Botanical Name: Zizia aurea
Common Name: Golden Alexanders, Golden Zizia
Description: This is a beautiful Florida native perennial.
Golden Alexanders blooms in golden yellow umbels in spring and early summer with non-fragrant flowers lasting about a month. The umbels and plant shape resemble Queen Anne’s lace but the flowers are golden yellow instead of white. The plant grows up to 1-3′ tall with a 1-2′ spread. It likes to reseed itself, and forms non-aggressive clumps. Distinguished from other carrot family members by the absence of a flower stalk on the central flower of each umbel. Both basal and stem leaves are compound biternate with toothed leaflets. The lower leaves are divided into threes twice while the upper leaves are divided once. The yellow flowers less than 1/8 inch long. Each tiny flower has 5 sepals, 5 petals, and 5 stamens. Separate clusters of tiny, yellow flowers gather into a large, flat-topped flower head , the middle flower of each umbel being stalkless. Dry seedheads turn purple, adding summer interest.
Is in the carrot family, so it is a host plant of the Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly and the Ozark Swallowtail butterfly. Many short tongue pollinators and smaller butterflies also use Golden Alexanders as a nectar source. As a long-spring flowering plant, it provides nectar when few flowers are blooming. Has special value to native bees. Attracts the good bugs, so add it to your Integrated Pest Management. Is deer resistant.
It grows naturally in moist meadows, woodland edges, near streams, or wet areas. Add it to your rain garden! It likes a moist but well drained, loamy soil in a sun, part sun, or part shade area. No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage tends to depreciate as the summer progresses. Is somewhat drought tolerant, but don’t plant it in a very dry, very sunny area. It blooms about the same time as Blue False Indigo and the Eastern Red Columbine. How stunning would that trio be planted together!
Has moderate tolerance to salt wind. Direct salt spray will burn the leaves. No tolerance for salt/brackish water flooding.
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 8-15″ tall.
Plant Lore: Genus name honors German botanist Johann Baptist Ziz (d. 1829). Specific epithet means golden.
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9