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Similar to Zizea aurea, but prefers a drier soil and has larger, heart-shaped leaves. A member of the carrot family, it tends to form colonies, if permitted. Umbelled clusters of tiny, bright, yellow-green flowers provide a show April-May, attracting numerous types of pollinators to their pollen and nectar.  In the fall, as seed heads dry, they turn a lovely purple and are eventually eaten by birds and other wildlife. If left standing, the spent flower stems offer an attractive fireworks shape for winter interest.


Often found growing naturally in moist prairies, woodland edges, bottomlands, streambanks, floodplains, abandoned fields and power line clearings. Excellent as a perennial border, along a driveway edge, or in a rock or rain garden.


Plant Characteristics:

Grows to 12-30”’ tall and spreads by seeds and rhizomes.


Plant in full to part sun.


Prefers average to moist, well-drained soil, but tolerates dry soil once established.


Deer resistant and has few pest or disease problems. Self-fertile.


Wildlife Value:

Highly valuable to a wide array of insects, such as andrenid, miner/digger, bumble, honey, sweat, yellow-faced, halictid bees, soldier beetles, ants, yellow jackets, potter and braconid wasps, flower, marsh, parasitic, shore, soldier and fruit flies, butterflies and other pollinators with short mouth parts. While pollen is collected by smaller bees, larger bees sip the nectar. The female mining bee is a Zizea specialist that will only eat the pollen of this plant. Ladybird beetles lay eggs under the flower heads. A valuable food source and larval host for the black swallowtail caterpillar and 3 other species of Lepidoptera. Black swallowtail caterpillars are often seen in herb gardens eating non-native dill, fennel and parsley.



Medicinal, Edible Other Uses:

Native Americans used the pulverized root as a poultice for wounds and inflamed areas. A tea made from the leaves, stalks and flowers has been used by Native Americans and in western medicine to treat female disorders, headaches, fever, hysteria, epilepsy, backaches, and increasing libido in men.  Xanthotoxin, an active plant compound in Zizea, can be used to treat vitiligo and psoriasis, but can cause photodermatitis.


The flowers can be prepared like broccoli. The root can cause vomiting and other adverse symptoms, if consumed. The flowers with the main stem removed make an attractive addition to green salads.


Caution: this plant is very similar in appearance to the highly toxic wild parsnip.


Golden Alexander, Heart-Leaved, Zizia aptera

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Out of Stock
  • Once we're certain we have good germination, we'll make these plants available for prepurchase.

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