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2016 Kansas Wildflower of the Year

Golden Alexanders — Zizia aurea

About Golden Alexanders

Golden Alexanders
Golden Alexanders by Michael Haddock
Golden Alexanders

Golden alexanders (Zizia aurea) is the Kansas Native Plant Society (KNPS) 2016 Wildflower of the Year (WOY). Golden alexanders is 12" to 36" tall with yellow flowers in flat-topped umbels blooming in May and June. This species is found in moist prairies, wet thickets, open woodlands, ditches and along streams in the eastern 1/3 of the state. Even though it is commonly found in moist habitat, it still survives well through dry summers. Zizia aurea is in the Apiaceae or parsley/carrot family, but it may cause vomiting in humans if eaten and should be considered toxic.

The plant resources committee chose this species primarily for its uniqueness among past choices for WOY. It represents a new family on our list (Apiaceae), it is a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies, it is found in at least a 1/3 of Kansas counties, and it is shade-adaptable which makes it a good landscaping plant since so many yards have shade.

Zizia aurea is an excellent source of pollen and nectar for numerous species of large and small bees. Azure butterflies, Soldier Beetles, Ladybird Beetles, several spiders and wasps are also attracted to the flowers.

For more photos and a detailed description of Zizia aurea, visit