Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is up to 2½' tall, forming occasional lateral stems. These stems are light green, hairless, and rather shiny. The shiny compound leaves are medium green, hairless, and odd-pinnate with 3 or 5 leaflets. The lower compound leaves have long petioles, which become shorter as the leaves alternate upward along the stems. The variable leaflets are up to 3" long and 2" across; they are lanceolate, ovate, cordate, or broadly oblong in shape, although the larger leaflets sometimes have 1-2 cleft lobes. Leaflet margins are serrated.  Flat to slightly rounded compound umbels of yellow flowers occur at the ends of the upper stems. Each compound umbel is about 2-3" across, and consists of about 12 umbellets. There are about 21 flowers in each umbellet; the central flower of each umbellet is sessile (or nearly so) during the blooming period. Each flower is about 1/8" across; it has 5 incurved yellow petals, an insignificant calyx, a pistil, and 5 stamens. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer, and lasts about 1 month. There is no floral scent. The seeds are oblong and flattened, but not winged, with several lighter-colored longitudinal ridges. The root system consists of a dense cluster of coarse fibrous roots. Cultivation
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Comments

Golden Alexanders should not be confused with Pastinaca sativa (Wild Parsnip), which is a weedy Eurasian biennial. The latter is taller, blooms later, and has more leaflets in each compound leaf. It can be particularly difficult to distinguish Golden Alexanders from Thaspium trifoliatum aureum (Yellow Meadow Parsnip), which is another native perennial plant. For the latter plant, the central flower of each umbellet has a short pedicel, the achenes are winged, and its basal leaves are simple, rather than trifoliate. Otherwise, these two species share nearly the same characteristics. Golden Alexanders is an excellent addition to a wildflower garden because it provides accessible nectar to many beneficial insects with short mouthparts during the spring and early summer when such flowers are relatively uncommon. Return
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Description and adaptation

Golden Alexanders is a member of the carrot family, Apiaceae. It is an upright, native, perennial forb growing to .4 – .75 meters (1 – 2 feet) in height. The leaves are up to 8 centimeters long and 5 centimeters across, have finely serrated margins, generally lanceolate or ovate in shape and the larger leaves usually have 1 or 2 sharp lobes. Lower (basal) leaves are twice or three times compound with long petioles, while the upper leaves are once compound with short petioles. Golden Alexanders is most noteworthy for its attractive bright yellow flower which occurs from May – June. The flower is less than .3 centimeters long. Each flower has 5 sepals, 5 petals and 5 stamens. A cluster of flowers gathers into an 8 centimeter long flat-topped flower head, the middle flower of each compound umbel being stalk less. Flowers give way to 3 – 4 millimeter long, oblong, green fruit capsules. The leaves as well as the fruit slowly turn light purple in the autumn.

Golden Alexanders is a carefree plant which occurs naturally in small colonies on wet soils. It prefers wet sites, but is very tolerant of dry conditions in the summer. The preference is for full to partial sun, although light shade under trees is tolerated.

Distribution: This species is widely distributed from Quebec to Saskatoon, south to Florida and Texas in USDA hardiness zones 4 – 9. Habitats include: moist black soil prairies, openings in moist to mesic woodlands, savannas, thickets, limestone glades and bluffs, power line clearings in woodland areas, and abandoned fields.

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Alternative names

Golden zizia

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Golden Alexanders is occasional to locally common in most areas of Illinois, except for some southern and western counties, where it is uncommon or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist black soil prairies, openings in moist to mesic woodlands, areas along woodland paths, savannas, thickets, limestone glades, thinly wooded bluffs, powerline clearances in wooded areas, and abandoned fields. Golden Alexanders occurs in both degraded and higher quality habitats. It adapts readily to habitat restorations. Faunal Associations
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Zizia aurea Koch:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

The twice-ternate leaves and yellow flowers distinguish this species from other members of the Parsley Family in our area.

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Golden Alexanders is occasional to locally common in most areas of Illinois, except for some southern and western counties, where it is uncommon or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist black soil prairies, openings in moist to mesic woodlands, areas along woodland paths, savannas, thickets, limestone glades, thinly wooded bluffs, powerline clearances in wooded areas, and abandoned fields. Golden Alexanders occurs in both degraded and higher quality habitats. It adapts readily to habitat restorations. Faunal Associations
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Dispersal

Establishment

This species is probably best planted in the spring or early fall from containerize stock to ensure success. Unstratified seed may also be fall planted, although germination the following spring may not be as predictable.

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Golden Alexanders in Illinois

Zizia aurea (Golden Alexanders)
(Short-tongued bees collect pollen or suck nectar; long-tongued bees suck nectar primarily, although some also collect pollen; other insects suck nectar; most observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from Petersen, Moure & Hurd, Reed, Krombein et al., and Clinebell)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn, Bombus fraternus sn, Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn, Bombus vagans sn; Anthophoridae (Anthophorinae): Exomalopsis asteris (Pt); Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina sp. (Re), Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia speciosa sn; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada sp. sn (Re), Nomada affabilis sn, Nomada articulata sn, Nomada denticulata sn, Nomada ovatus sn, Nomada sayi sn, Nomada superba superba sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons sn, Osmia atriventris sn cp, Osmia pumila sn; Megachilidae (Stelidini): Stelis lateralis sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn, Agapostemon virescens sn, Augochlora purus purus sn, Augochlorella aurata sn cp fq, Augochlorella striata sn cp fq (Rb, Re), Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Halictus confusus sn cp fq (Rb, Re), Halictus ligatus sn cp fq (Rb, Re), Halictus parallelus sn, Halictus rubicunda sn fq, Lasioglossum albipennis sn cp (Rb, Re), Lasioglossum coreopsis sn, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn, Lasioglossum forbesii sn, Lasioglossum foxii sn, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp fq (Rb, Re), Lasioglossum lineatulus (Re), Lasioglossum macoupinensis sn, Lasioglossum obscurus (MH), Lasioglossum pectoralis sn (Rb, Re), Lasioglossum pictus (Re), Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp fq (Rb, Re), Lasioglossum pruinosus sn cp (Rb, Re), Lasioglossum rohweri (Re), Lasioglossum tegularis sn cp, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum vierecki (Re), Lasioglossum zephyrus sn, Paralictus platyparius sn, Paralictus simplex sn (MH); Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes sp. sn (Re), Sphecodes cressonii sn, Sphecodes dichroa sn, Sphecodes ranunculi sn; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes aestivalis sn fq (Rb, Kr), Colletes simulans armata sn; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis sn fq (Rb, Re), Hylaeus illinoiensis (Re), Hylaeus mesillae sn icp (Rb, Re), Hylaeus modestus modestus sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena crataegi sn cp fq (Rb, Re), Andrena cressonii sn cp fq (Rb, Re), Andrena erythrogaster (Re, Kr), Andrena forbesii sn (Rb, Kr), Andrena hippotes (Kr), Andrena illinoiensis sn (Rb, Kr), Andrena imitatrix imitatrix sn, Andrena miranda (Kr), Andrena nasonii sn, Andrena nigrae (Kr), Andrena nigrifrons (Kr), Andrena nuda sn, Andrena quintilis (Kr), Andrena rugosa (Kr), Andrena sayi sn, Andrena wilkella (Re), Andrena ziziae sn cp fq icp olg (Rb, Re, Kr, Cl)

Wasps
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Ectemnius atriceps fq, Ectemnius continuus, Ectemnius decemmaculatus, Ectemnius lapidarius, Ectemnius rufipes, Ectemnius trifasciatus, Lestica confluentus fq, Oxybelus uniglumis; Vespidae: Polistes fuscata (Rb, Re); Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus (Rb, Re), Ancistrocerus campestris, Ancistrocerus catskill (Re), Eumenes fraterna, Euodynerus foraminatus (Rb, Re), Euodynerus megaera, Leionotus scrophulariae, Leionotus ziziae,, Parancistrocerus perennis, Parancistrocerus vagus, Stenodynerus ammonia, Stenodynerus anormis fq, Stenodynerus histrionalis, Stenodynerus oculeus, Symmorphus albomarginatus; Pompilidae: Anoplius illinoensis, Anoplius marginatus (Re), Anoplius tenebrosus, Episyron biguttatus; Tiphiidae: Tiphia letalis; Chrysididae: Ceratochrysis perpulchra; Eucoilidae: Eucoilidea canadensis; Ichneumonidae: Campoplex sp. (Re), Exyston clavatus fq, Temelucha platynotae

Sawflies
Tenthredinidae: Pseudosiobla exavatus

Flies
Tabanidae: Chrysops sp. (Re); Scaridae: Sciara atrata; Bibionidae: Bibio albipennis albipennis; Simuliidae: Cnephia pecuarum; Stratiomyidae: Allognosta obscuriventris, Nemotelus glaber, Odontomyia pubescens (Re); Syrphidae: Cheilosia hoodiana, Chrysogaster antitheus, Eristalis arbustorum, Eristalis dimidiatus, Eristalis stipator, Helophilus fasciatus, Helophilus latifrons, Helophilus stipatus (Re), Orthonevra pictipennis, Paragus bicolor, Paragus tibialis, Sphaerophoria contiqua, Sphegina rufiventris, Syritta pipiens, Syrphus ribesii, Toxomerus marginatus, Tropidia mamillata; Empidae: Empis distans, Empis loripedis; Bombyliidae: Aldrichia ehrmanii; Conopidae: Thecophora occidensis, Zodion fulvifrons; Tachinidae: Cylindromyia fumipennis, Gymnoclytia sp. (Re), Gymnoclytia immaculata, Gymnoclytia occidua fq, Leucostoma simplex, Linnaemya comta, Lydella radicis, Paradidyma conica, Periscepsia laevigata, Phasia aeneoventris, Phasia purpurascens, Phorantha magna (Rb, MS), Siphona geniculata, Trichopoda pennipes; Sarcophagidae: Amobia aurifrons, Helicobia rapax, Sarcophaga sinuata; Muscidae: Caricea erythrocera, Morellia micans, Mydaea urbana, Neomyia cornicina; Calliphoridae: Lucilia illustris, Lucilia sericata, Phormia regina; Anthomyiidae: Adia cinerella, Botanophila inornata fq, Calythea nigricans, Delia platura; Fanniidae: Fannia manicata fq; Sepsidae: Sepsis violacea; Platystomatidae: Rivellia pallida; Chloropidae: Chlorops declinata, Chlorops proximus, Hippelates plebejus, Liohippelates flavipes, Meromyza americana, Olcella cinerea, Rhopalopterum soror, Thaumatomyia glabra; Agromyzidae: Melanogromyza aeneoventris

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Phyciodes tharos; Lycaenidae: Everes comyntas, Lycaena phlaeas americana; Pieridae: Colias philodice

Moths
Noctuidae: Anagrapha falcifera

Beetles
Cantharidae: Ancistronycha bilineata, Rhagonycha dichrous; Cerambycidae: Brachysomida bivittata; Chrysomelidae: Acalymma vittata, Cerotoma trifurcata, Diabrotica undecimpunctata; Coccinellidae: Coleomegilla maculata, Cycloneda sanguinea; Curculionidae: Centrinaspis picumna, Centrinites strigicollis; Histeridae: Atholus americanus; Languriidae: Languria mozardi; Scarabaeidae (Scarabaeinae): Onthophagus pennsylvanicus

Plant Bugs
Miridae: Lygus lineolaris, Plagiognathus obscurus; Pentatomidae: Euschistus ictericus

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Zizia aurea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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Threats

Pests and potential problems

Golden Alexanders is a plant with relatively few pest and disease problems. Plants tend to bolt and the foliage depreciates as the summer progresses.

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Management

Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

There are no recommended cultivars or selected materials at this time. Golden Alexanders is somewhat available from commercial nurseries specializing in native plants.

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Golden Alexanders is a hardy plant with relatively few problems. This species is easy to grow and maintain with moderate levels of N, P and K. It will naturalize under optimal conditions.

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Production

Propagation by Seed

Large round seed capsules ripen slowly in flattened heads or umbels. They are green for much of the summer then gradually darken to burgundy and then brown, at which time they can be removed and crushed to release the dark brown seeds. Seed will germinate after 90 days moist, cold stratification at 4º C. The seed of golden Alexanders germinate at high percentages. The resulting seedlings can be transplanted into containers by midsummer; and plants will be at flowering size by the following spring.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

Golden Alexanders has its greatest potential as a component of conservation mixes and wildflower gardens. In wet, sunny meadows and open woodlands it will naturalize. The flowers are attractive to many kinds of butterflies and many other insects. It is an excellent source of accessible pollen and nectar to many beneficial insects with short mouthparts.

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Wikipedia

Zizia aurea

Zizia aurea (Golden Alexanders, Golden zizia) is a flowering perennial forb of the carrot family (Apiaceae). Golden Alexanders is hardy in USDA zones 4-9. It can be found from New Brunswick to Saskatchewan in Canada, south to Florida and Texas in the United States.[2]

This native North American flower usually ranges in height from forty centimeters to seventy five centimeters tall but can sometimes grow taller. The leaves of the Golden Alexanders can up to eight centimeters long and five centimeters wide. They are normally lanceolate or ovate. Other distinguishing factors of the leaves are that they have serrated edges as well as two or three lobes in the leaf.

Golden Alexanders blooms from May to June. Its flowers are yellow and bunched at the top of the plant. Each flower is only three millimeters long and has five sepals, five petals, and five stamens. Each flower produces a single three to four millimeter long, oblong, green fruit capsule. These fruits change color as the year goes on. Each one contains a brown seed. In the fall both the leaves and the fruit turn purple.

Range and habitat[edit]

It is most often found in habitats such as moist black soil prairies, openings in moist to mesic woodlands, savannas, thickets, limestone glades and bluffs, power line clearings in woodland areas, abandoned fields, and wet meadows. Golden Alexanders is known for its ability to survive dry summers even though it prefers wet habitats.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Plant List, Zizia aurea
  2. ^ USDA NRCS Plant Fact Sheet for Z. aurea Retrieved 2010-03-08


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