Golden Alexander in Retreat

Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is in bloom right now, and one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s not where it used to be.



It’s a native wildflower worth growing, though it’s hard to find at garden centers. The flat flower heads are made up of many tiny golden blooms. A member of the carrot family (Apiacea), it’s supposed to be a host plant for Black Swallowtail butterflies.  I must say, though, that I’ve seen Black Swallowtail caterpillars on Fennel and Parsley, but never on Golden Alexander.

Salvia, golden alexander

Anyhow, what I was going to say is that I used to have a big mass of Golden Alexander growing in the Sidewalk Border. You can see it at the top of the picture above, which was taken in 2013. Since then, the Golden Alexanders in this border have been almost completely squeezed out by the Monardas (M. didyma and M. fistulosa) and Short’s Asters (Symphyotrichum shortii).

Come to think of it, I had to rescue those Salvias, too – they couldn’t handle being shaded out by their taller neighbors.

DSC_0222Fortunately, I still have a few patches of Golden Alexanders: in the Left Bank Bed, in the Front Foundation Bed, and in the Parkway Bed (above), where they combine nicely with ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint (Nepeta racemosa). Golden Alexander self-sows with modest abandon, so it is hard to lose completely.


Blue and yellow are always a winning combination, and the habit of these two plants seem to go together very comfortably.

Do you grow Golden Alexander, or one of its carroty relatives, in your garden?

27 Comments on “Golden Alexander in Retreat”

  1. I started some from seed by planting them in a sheltered nursery bed. They germinated this spring, and I have moved some to individual pots. I have never seen anything grow more slowly. It would be great to put them into the garden, but they would be lost. I hope they eventually get big enough to transplant.

  2. I like that blue and yellow combination. I haven’t seen Golden Alexander here. I’m trying to grow some wild carrot this year from seed… it has white/pinkish flowers. It’s in pots safe from snails, I hope!

  3. I’d not heard of Golden Alexander – I do like the blue/yellow combination and am hoping to incorporate that into our spring plantings. Queen Anne’s Lace always pops up all over the place and we have several edible family members in my garden – parsley, parsnip, cilantro, dill and, of course, carrots!

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