That is until this year, when I noticed how nicely it had seeded around the garden.
|tucked in between an ex-aster and goldenrods|
I thought them sweet when I planted them half a dozen years ago, and, have come to value their lovely yellow presence and their pollinator magnetism. They look beautiful when massed and viewed from across a garden, but, I like them best up close, where I can see the pollinator action.
|Blooming begins in late spring and continues for about a month.|
|Deep green, leathery, handsomely foliage|
|That is a lot of goodness in those tiny flowers and their nectar is easily accessible to short tongued bees and other critters|
Like other members of the carrot family (fennel, dill, parsley, cilantro, lovage and chervil), Zizia is a food source/host plant for the Black Swallowtail butterfly and its caterpillar, but many other small pollinators and beneficial insects are attracted to the flowers.
Zizia aurea is a classic carrot family member and knowing its characteristics would make identifying it and other Apiaceae easy peasy in a woodland. Look for clustered small white or yellow flowers that make you think of an umbrella spokes! The clusters are called umbels and are actually individual flowers on stalks arranged like the spokes of an umbrella. You can practice in a herb/vegetable garden where you likely to find many carrot family member.
Golden Alexanders bloom in April in my Zone7, Middle Tennessee garden. Native to Tennessee and Davidson county where I live, they are usually found in wooded bottomlands, stream banks, moist meadows, and floodplains. They're native from Canada to Florida and east of the Rockies. They're a good choice for heavy clay soils in semi-shade to full sun. They're happy in moist soil but, once established they have some drought tolerance. They've been happy at Clay and Limestone and I never worry that our wet winters will kill them.
If you garden for pollinators, especially butterfly, you won't be disappointed with Golden Alexander. So give it a try. If it's happy you can enjoy a massed golden show.
Common Name: Golden Alexander
Flowering: flowers in April-May in my middle Tennessee Zone 7 garden
Native Range: Eastern Canada to southern United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Size: Height: 1.50 to 3.00 feet Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feetBloom: yellow, umbel
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Soil: Heavy clay,
Soil: Heavy clay,
Maintenance: Water in droughty times if newly established. Unwanted seedlings might be an issue
Foliage: AttractivePollinators: Zizia is a food source for short-tongued insects that are able to easily reach the nectar in the small yellow flowers. Black Swallowtail butterflies feed on the nectar and lay eggs on the foliage and when the eggs hatch the caterpillars will feed on its leaves.
Propagation: Plant in the spring for good success. It spreads by seeds.
Wildlife: Has never been predated by deer or voles.
Comments: A delightful plant to allow to seed itself about in a damp sunny meadow. Use in a rain garden or in natural garden. Plant with Carex, Aquilegias, Packera aurea and other plants that like moist soil. Golden Alexander also attracts and hosts a number of beneficial insects that are predatory or parasitoid on many common garden pest insects.(Illinois Wildflowers)
Welcome to Wildflower Wednesday and thank you for stopping by to see my Golden Alexanders! Thanks for joining in and if you are new to Wildflower Wednesday, it's about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if your wildflower is in bloom or not and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.