Golden alexander is now in bloom in the Ladd Arboretum, and we’ve been fortunate to receive even more of these plants from neighbors thinning out their own native gardens. Golden alexander (Zizia aurea) grows in full to partial sun, including open woodlands like these. It’s used by bees and is a larval host for the black swallowtail butterfly.
According to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis, the common name comes from a medicinal herb used in Roman times. That plant, also in the carrot family, was named for the Egyptian city of Alexandria, where it was first found.
Golden alexander spreads by seed and can crowd out other plants. But along the channel bank near Bridge Street where we’ve been adding more of these flowers, we need tough plants right now, and we’re grateful for the donations.
You can find out more about it on the Illinois Wildflowers website, which is a good general source on our local native plants.
— Wendy Pollock