Simply The Best Natives-Golden Alexander

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 “To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music; it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy, than to attempt to fully understand.”  
-  Henry T. Tuckerman

 

 

Every May I am greeted to a gorgeous golden display in my garden beneath my large ash and maple tree and out in the meadow.  The Golden Alexanders (also known as Golden Zizias) are blooming.  A beautiful native Zizia aurea, in the Carrot Family (Apiaceae), is hardy from zones 3 to 8.

DSCN2633Although they only last a few weeks, the flat-topped yellow flowers are a favorite of mine and pollinators.  The flowers remind me of dill flowers that come later in a couple of months.  But be careful not to mistake this 1-3 foot perennial for a noxious imposter, the similar-looking Pastinaca sativa or Wild Parsnip.  Wild Parsnip is a very invasive non-native biennial found on roadsides and other disturbed areas.  It blooms later and is much taller, but beware as it can cause painful skin burns if you come in contact with it.

I am linking in with Gail@Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday meme as I profile this wonderful native plant.

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And I am also joining forces with a local native plant nursery, Amanda’s Garden, to purchase native plants for my garden, similar to the one I am profiling in this post.  The owner, Ellen Folts, specializes in woodland, prairie and wetland native perennials.

 

 

 

Growing Conditions

DSCN8014Zizias grow easily in sun to part shade in moist conditions.  I started my colony growing in the light shade under my mature 80 foot trees with one plant that reseeded heavily in one year.  I also have them growing from seed in my clay soil meadow.

This amazing plant can self pollinate, is salt tolerant and does not have any serious insect or disease problems.

These stems and leaves are green and shiny. The leaves have serrated edges as well as two or three lobes in each leaf.  I love how the leaves turn a great purple color in the fall.

The flowers have no scent.

The root system is a large cluster of coarse fibrous roots that can be divided.

Seeds germinate best in cool soil in fall as they need to stratified. 
 

 

 

Benefits to Wildlife

They say Golden Alexanders are not deer resistant, but mine have not been plagued by my four-footed local devils.DSCN8179

Because they are part of the carrot family, black swallowtail caterpillars use them as a host plant.  I have not seen any caterpillars on my plants but someday I hope I will.

Zizia is also an important pollen and nectar flower for short tongued bees (Green Metallic bees and Masked bees) who can get the goodies from these small flowers.  Wasps, flies and beetles also visit the flowers. 

 

 

 

Where Are They Found

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The plant can be found from eastern Canada to the southern United States.

Golden Alexanders like moist prairies, open moist woods and wet meadows.

 

 

 

Uses

Golden Alexanders are not edible, but they make a great addition to a native meadow or a rain garden.  

Combine them with columbines and wild lupines as I did in the picture of my meadow at the top of the post.  

 

 

 

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Many Native Americans used this plant in a root tea for fevers, to heal wounds, or to help with insomnia.  

The flower stalks were used for headaches.   

Consult an expert before using plants as a remedy as they can be toxic.

 

 

 

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“The nature of This Flower is to bloom.”    
~Alice Walker

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you will join me in celebrating the new season coming soon to your part of the world.  I will have the kick-off post for Seasonal Celebrations on Saturday!

 

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Visit my new blog: 

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I want to thank all the wonderful people who have been visiting my new blog, Living From Happiness.  It is a blog to celebrate life, lessons, change, challenges and creativity.

I post there every Thursday, and sometimes on Sunday with a creative post.  In August I am participating in a photo challenge and posting some of my pics on Sundays.

I do hope you will join me there.  

 

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Next up on the blog:  Saturday brings another Seasonal Celebrations post.  Monday will be a review of the August garden. And next Wednesday, I will have critter post.

I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.

 

 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.