Zone: 3 to 8
Soil: see notes
Light: Full sun to part sun
Bloom colour: Yellow
Bloom period: Late spring
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Moisture: Dry to medium
Attracts: Hoverflies and bees
Notes: Considering the size of these plants, Zizia sp. produce quite large yellow flowerheads for a few weeks in June. Both species mentioned here are native to a large number of provinces and states East of the Rockies.
The flowerheads are called umbels in which each small flower is on a small stalk and spread outwards from a central point. The tiny open flowers are good for small bees as well as hoverflies; the larvae of these latter insects are often beneficial by eating aphids. These plants are also a host for Black Swallowtails.
There are two species in Ontario. Zizia aptera is a smaller plant that does well in dry sandy soil while Zizia aurea can grow up to 3 feet and grows in clay soil or moist soils. Zizia aptera is rather rare in Ontario. Growing in difficult soil conditions, it takes several years to develop into a sizeable plant. Zizia aurea not only grows faster, but it may also flower for a second time in the fall.
These plants flower when most of the garden is still quiet. They are quite easy to grow from seed by sewing in late fall. Zizia aptera combines well with Prairie Smoke and is an excellent plant for the front of the border.