Golden Alexanders

Zizia aurea Apiaceae

Growth habit




Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region


A 1-3' tall plant with with umbels of yellow flowers that may appear in both spring and fall.
Light: sun to light shade
Moisture and Soil: self sows in moist to wet soil - will grow but not spread in drier soil.


Seed Treatment and Storage: 60/120 days cold/moist stratification. Spotty germination

Biocultural value

The Meskwaki prescribed the roots as a fever remedy and included the powdered flower stalks in a compound for headaches.

The statements above were sourced from:

Native American Ethnobotany Database: http://naeb.BRIT Native American Ethnobotany

Wildlife value

Golden alexanders andrena (Andrena ziziae), a specialist mining bee, collects pollen only from Zizia. Other bees, azure butterflies (Celastrina spp.), ebony bugs (Corimelaena spp.), and soldier beetles (Rhagonycha spp.) feed on the nectar. Zizia is a larval host plant for black swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes), Ozark swallowtails (Papilio joanae), and the rigid sunflower borer (Papaipema rigida). Ladybird beetles (Cycloneda spp.) often lay their eggs under the flowerheads and near clusters of aphids (usually Aphis saniculae and A. thaspii), which provide food for both adults and larvae.

Climate change sensitivity

Over the period from 1986 to 2015, Zizea aurea bloomed an average of 21 days earlier.


Mundy Wildflower Garden, Coy Glen, McLean Bogs, Eames Bog, South Hill Swamp

Special characteristics

This excellent garden plant supports native pollinators and often blooms multiple times a year. Late flower buds will even overwinter for early bloom the next spring.