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Here's a plant that tickles your lips when you say the name. ZZZZZZZZZZZizia aurea. While most Umbellifers, or plants in what was the Umbelliferae family, now known as the Apiaceae family, are either biennial or monocarpic, here's a long lived perennial that's native to the Eastern US. One of three species resident in these mountains, I grow Zizia aurea in several different areas in my garden. In the wild, it grows in rich, moist woods, open meadows and on riverbanks. In the garden, it grows and flowers equally well in full sun or full shade.
The dark green, glossy, dissected foliage is a perfect foil for the long lasting, brilliant yellow umbels of flowers that persist for weeks in late Spring to early Summer. Plants are 12"-24" tall and form a nice tight clump about 12" in diameter.
Propagation is easy by division or by seed, which is set in abundance.
Since it's a zone 5 native, I'd venture to say that it's probably hardy to zone 4 and as far as heat tolerance goes, who knows. Hortus Third says that it occurs from New Brunswick Canada to Florida and West to Texas. Wow that's more than half the country! I'd suggest that the further South you are, the more shade it would prefer, along with a bit of water and mulch in dry times which goes a long way.
By the way, the common name is "Golden Alexanders", and of the other two species, Zizia aptera, and Zizia trifoliata, I grow Zizia aptera which has large round leaves. I can't recall what the flowers are like on this species, but I remember that they weren't as showy as Zizia aurea.
Does the phrase "Idiot Proof" come to mind?
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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
Phone: (304) 497-2208
Last modified February 24, 2009