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Golden Alexander
  Photos © Kim Hosen; Merrimac Farm Wildlife Managemen Area, Nokesvile VA; August 2008  

Golden Alexander
Zizia aurea
Parsley family, Apiaceae

Golden Alexander is a native perennial which occurs most often in small colonies in moist woods and meadows, thickets, glades and prairies.

It features flat-topped clusters of tiny yellow flowers in late spring atop stems growing to 3' tall.

Distinguished from other carrot family members by the absence of a flower stalk on the central flower of each umbel.

The flowers are attractive to many kinds of insects seeking pollen or nectar, especially short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, and beetles.

Among the short-tongued bees are such visitors as Green Metallic bees, Masked bees, and Andrenid bees. Wasp visitors include Eumenine wasps, spider wasps, Ichneumonid wasps, and Crabronine wasps.

Long-tongued bees such as bumblebees also visit the flowers, as do some small butterflies and true bugs.

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