Zizia aptera (A. Gray) Fernald
Zizia aptera (A. Gray) Fernald var. occidentalis Fernald
Zizia cordata W.D.J. Koch ex DC.
Heart-leaved Golden Alexander, Meadow Zizia, Heart-leaved Golden Alexanders
Heart-leaved golden alexanders are North American natives.
Identification: Plants reach 12-30" (30-76 cm) in height. Lower leaves are divided into threes; upper leaves in two. Leaves are up to 4" (10 cm) long and 3" (7.6 cm) wide, heart-shaped, with finely toothed edges. Flowerheads have the overall shape of a gently curved umbrella about 2-3" (5-7.6 cm) across, divided into smaller groups (parasols?). The smaller groups approximately 25 tiny yellow flowers, each less than ⅛" (3.2 mm) across, each with five petals. The dried seedheads become purple.
Here are two golden alexanders:
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|Plant||12-30" (30-76 cm) high.||18-36" (45-91 cm) high.|
|Flowers||Umbrella-shaped cluster about 2-3" (5-7.6 cm) across, split into smaller groups of tiny yellow flowers, about 25 per group.||Umbrella-shaped cluster about 2" (5 cm) across, split into smaller groups of tiny yellow flowers, about 25 per group.|
|Leaves||Lower leaves are heart-shaped. Up to 4" (10 cm) long × 3" (7.6 cm) wide.||Lower leaves divided into threes, upper leaves in two. Up to 2½" (6.3 cm) long × 2½" (6.3 cm) wide.|
USDA Zones: 3-8
USDA Zones: 3-8
|Habitats||Black soil prairies, hillside prairies, rocky upland woodlands, limestone glades, bluffs, abandoned fields, and roadsides||Prairies, glades, open woods, fields, thickets|
Edibility: Not edible. Caution: the flowerheads of these plants resemble those of water hemlock (Cicuta maculata), which is extremely poisonous . Water hemlock flowers are white, while zizias are yellow.
Zizia aptera on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site
Zizia aptera at Illinois Wildflowers
Zizia aptera at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Zizia aptera at Minnesota Wildflowers
Zizia aptera on www.nativeplanttrust.org (PDF)
Zizia aptera description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
Range: Zones 3-8: