Golden Alexanders Identification – Zizia aurea

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the plant’s main parts – its leaves, flowers, fruits, and more – all with key identification features.

Golden Alexanders: Key Parts in Photos

Golden Alexanders, or Zizia aurea, are plants from the Apiaceae family. Originating from North America, Golden Alexanders are primarily distributed across Eastern Canada and the USA. Whether you’re in the coastal zones or the mountains, you can find Golden Alexanders thriving in various types of regions.

How to identify Golden Alexanders

These plants usually grow up to 2 feet in height. Their posture is erect, forming a clumping pattern, making them look dense and lush.

The leaves of the Golden Alexanders are deciduous, which means they shed annually. These leaves vary in shades of green. When you touch them, they feel smooth. These are compound leaves, primarily lanceolate or ovate in shape with finely serrated edges. The larger leaves, interestingly, might have one or two pronounced lobes. As the year wears on, they adopt a light purple color during autumn.

But what sets the Golden Alexanders apart? Their flowers. Come summer, they display a radiant shade of gold or yellow. You’ll find 5 sepals, petals, and stamens in each of these flowers. However, they’re not solitary, rather they are clubbed together in clusters forming flat-topped flower heads, with the central flower notably being stalkless. As the plant matures, these flowers make way for oblong, green fruit capsules. These capsules take on a light purple shade as autumn approaches.

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