Johann Baptist Ziz

Golden Alexanders

Today is the birthday of the German botanist, Johann Baptist Ziz, who was born on this day in 1779.

The genus Zizia, which has three species, was named for him. Zizia plants are one of my favorites; they bloom for a long time, and they are a great source of pollen and nectar. Zizia is in the carrot family with stems 1-3 feet tall. The flowers are a compound umbel with many small flower heads. Native Americans used the root of Zizia to treat pain. In the wild, Zizia is found in meadows, the edge of woods, and thickets. In the garden, it's an excellent plant for part shade, and it makes for a lovely ground cover plant.
Zizia aurea is known by the common name Golden Alexanders. Aurea from the Latin word for "golden-yellow." Golden Alexanders are easy to grow and a host plant for the black swallowtail butterfly. They also attract loads of other pollinating insects like the golden Alexanders mining bee—which was named for its special relationship with the Zizia. The early leaves of Zizia aurea have beaded magenta edges, which adds to their charm in the garden.
In private plant sales over the past decade, Zizia aurea sells like hotcakes. They make a beautiful cut flower.
Golden Alexander pairs beautifully with exuberant purple blooms like the False Blue Indigo or Salvia 'May Night.'

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Johann Baptist Ziz
Johann Baptist Ziz

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