This informal perennial is a very popular and rugged plant in the carrot family. The bright yellow flowers attract a broad array of bees, flies, wasps, butterflies and other pollinators from May to June. Seed heads turn purple in summer. If left standing, the hollow stems provide excellent over-wintering sites for native bees.
Colonizes naturally in woodland openings, forest edges and meadows. Excellent in a meadow or pollinator garden. Will colonize by rhizomes and reseeding, if allowed.
Grows 1.5-3’ tall.
Site in full sun to light shade.
Average to moist, sandy, clay or sand-clay mix soils.
A wide assortment of butterflies and bees adore this plant, and it is host plant for the black swallowtail. The female mining bee is a Zizea specialist and will only eat the pollen of this plant.
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.
Beware, because this plant is very similar in appearance to the highly toxic wild parsnip.
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