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Manitoba Museum

Parsely (Apiaceae)

Golden Alexander

Zizia aurea (L.) Koch

Although scentless, Golden Alexander flowers provide an accessible food source to many beneficial insects. Pollinators with short mouthparts such as bees, wasps, flies, and beetles visit flowers for their pollen and nectar. The larvae of some butterflies, such as the Black Swallowtail, also feed on these plants. In addition to insect pollination, Golden Alexander is able to self-pollinate. It grows well in restored habitats and wildflower gardens.

Flower Colour:

  • Yellow

Flowering Season:

  • Spring

Flowering Months:

  • April
  • June
  • May

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare. Listed as “may be at risk” in Nova Scotia.

Physical Appearance:

Branched, shiny green stems grow to 75 cm tall. The alternate leaves are divided into 3 or 5 leaflets with finely toothed edges. There are usually two large basal leaves with long stalks. The tiny flowers have five petals, five stamens, and a small calyx. There are 13–26 flowers in each of the small clusters making up 2-6 larger umbrella-shaped clusters. Fruits are ribbed, oblong pods containing numerous oblong seeds.

Similar Species:

Heart-leaved Alexander, Hairy Parsley (Lomatium foeniculaceum (Nutt.) C. & R.), Large-fruited Parsley (Lomatium macrocarpum (Nutt. ex T. & G.) C. & R.), Leafy Musineon (Musineon divaricatum (Pursh) Nutt. ex T. & G.)

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are typically available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Although it may be difficult to germinate seeds, these plants are easy to grow and maintain in gardens.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

Prairie Types:

  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Forests
  • Limestone Glades
  • Prairies
  • Savannahs

Moisture Conditions:

  • Moderate
  • Moist
  • Wet

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun
  • Part Shade

Soil Preference:

  • Clay
  • Loam
  • Sand
Golden Alexander