Zizia aurea: 'Golden Alexander'

Latin name:  Zizia aurea
Common name:  Golden Alexander
Flowers: Flowers are small in size and clustered into flower heads. Gold/yellow color and blooms from April to May 13
Fruit: Flowers give way to fruit capsules that are green and turn light purple in fall 13
Height & Width:  1-2ft x 1-2ft 13
Type:  Perennial 13
Habit:  Clumping, erect 13
Wetland indicator category**: FAC 17
Texture:  Medium 13
Growth rate:  Fast 13
Light:  Part-shade 10
Moisture:  Medium 10
Soil*: Moist, sandy, or sandy-clay 10
Zones:  3-8 13
Origin: Eastern North America 16
Ecosystem benefits: : Attracts butterflies, bees, and other pollinators and is a wildlife food source 13

Zizia aurea Golden Alexander

Features:  This plant can thrive in different types of soils and landscapes and attracts bees and butterflies to the garden. Yellow/gold flowers bloom in spring and give way to green/purple fruit in the fall, making it attractive in many seasons 13.

Siting:  Golden Alexander would work well as an accent or border plant in a naturalized or meadow area. It also adds value to butterfly or pollinator gardens 13.

Care: Plant crown at soil level 18. At planting, water the roots and surrounding area slowly and deeply. Keep soil moist until plant is established, then apply enough water to thoroughly moisten the root zone when the soil is dry or during drought. Modify water recommendations to reflect site drainage and rainfall. Apply 3” of mulch over the planted area. Do not allow mulch to touch the plant stems 18.  

Pests: Caterpillars of the Black Swallowtail butterfly feed on the leaves and flower 4.

This plant does not appear on the following invasive plant lists on (3-2-21):

Author: Molly Glaser

Image source: http://www.pwconserve.org/plants/goldenalexander.html


  1. Armitage, A. (2001). Armitage’s manual of annuals, biennials, and half-hardy perennials. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
  2. Armitage, A. (2006). Armitage’s native plants for North American gardens. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.
  3. Armitage, A. (2008). Herbaceous perennial plants: A treatise on their identification, culture, and garden attributes. Athens, GA: University of Georgia.
  4. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.(2011). Flowers fact sheets. Retrieved from https://hgic.clemson.edu/category/flowers/
  5. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.(2011). Groundcovers & vines fact sheets. Retrieved from https://hgic.clemson.edu/category/groundcovers/
  6. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.(2011). Trees. Retrieved from https://hgic.clemson.edu/category/trees/
  7. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.(2011). Shrubs. Retrieved from https://hgic.clemson.edu/category/shrubs/
  8. Dirr, M. A. (2009). Manual of woody landscape plants. Champaign, IL: Stipes Publishing.
  9. Gilman, E. F. (1997). Trees for urban and suburban landscapes. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers.
  10. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center University of Texas at Austin. (2012). Native plant information network. Retrieved from http://www.wildflower.org/explore/
  11. McMillan, P., Plant taxonomist Clemson University, personal communication.
  12. Missouri Botanical Garden Kemper Center for Home Gardening. Plant finder. Retrieved from http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp
  13. North Carolina State University (2005). Plant fact sheets. Retrieved from http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/index.html
  14. Strother, E. V., Ham, D. L., Gilland, L. (2003) Urban tree species guide: Choosing the right tree for the right place.  Columbia, SC: South Carolina Forestry Commission.
  15. University of Florida, IFAS Extension. (2011). Southern trees fact sheet. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/department_envhort-trees
  16. USDA . Plant profile. (n/d).Retrieved from http://plants.usda.gov/java/
  17. USDA. Plant wetland indicator status. (n/d). Retrieved from http://plants.usda.gov/wetland.html
  18. Vincent, E., Environmental horticulturist Clemson University, personal communication.

*Soil pH is determined using a professional soil test. Contact your Clemson University County Extension service for assistance www.clemson.edu/extension/. Click on “local offices”.

**2012 Plant Wetland Indicator categories (quantitative derived) http://plants.usda.gov/wetinfo.html


Indicator Code

Indicator Status



Obligate Wetland

Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands


Facultative Wetland

Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands



Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte


Facultative Upland

Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands


Obligate Upland

Rarely is a hydrophyte, almost always in uplands