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(Zizia aurea)
Golden Alexander

Host Plant: Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), Ozark Swallowtail (Papilio joanae) and Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth (Papaipema rigida)

Nectar Plant: bees, wasps, beetles, and flies

Flower Color: yellow

Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial that grows to 1-3 feet tall

Range in North America: Native east of the Rocky Mountains

Exposure: Full sun to shade

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Soil Requirements: sandy to clayey moist soils that are well-drained and slightly acidic to alkaline soils

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Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)

Yellow flowers of golden alexander (Zizia aurea).

Flowers of Golden Alexander — Cbaile19, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

Meadow Parsnip and Wild Parsley

Description of Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)

Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea), a member of Apiaceae (Carrot Family) is a herbaceous perennial that has yellow umbellate flowers in the spring and early summer up to July.  It is reported to be deer resistant by people who have grown this plant.

More information about Golden Alexander can be found on this blog post.

Hosted Species

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) on a coneflower.

Black Swallowtail on Coneflower — Ltshears, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ozark Swallowtail (Papilio joanae)

Ozark Swallowtail Butterfly

Ozark Swallowtail — Charles T. and John R. Bryson, CC BY 3.0 US, via Wikimedia Commons

Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth (Papaipema rigida)

Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth on a white background

Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth — Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

Many other insects including short and long-tongued bees, wasps, flies, and beetles use this plant as a nectar source.


This species grows in moist black soil prairies, moist to mesic woodlands, thickets, limestone glades, and abandoned fields.

Range of Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) in the United States and Canada

Range map of golden alexander (Zizia aurea) in the United States and Canada.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Zizia, is named for the German botanist, Johann Baptist Ziz,  The species name, aurea, means “gold” in Latin and presumably refers to the color of the flowers.  This plant was named the 2012 North Carolina Wildflower of the Year.


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Golden Alexander”

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