Zizia aurea, “Golden Alexanders”
A native member of the carrot family, Zizia aurea reaches a height of 1.5 to 3 feet with a similar spread. The leaves are finely toothed and lance shaped; the flowers grow in clusters of compound umbels in late spring, brightening the landscape with a vibrant, happy yellow.
This plant is inclined to re-seed and spread itself far and wide – a useful habit for plants that we want in Riverside Park. It is an important food source for a number of short-tongued insects that are able to easily reach the nectar in the small flowers. Black Swallowtail caterpillars will feed on its leaves, which is always great to see.
Look out for Zizia aurea in the Woodland Restoration area of the Park, between 116th and 120th Streets. It may also be incorporated as part of the Butterfly Meadow in future plantings.