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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Golden Alexanders - Zizia aptera

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
C-value: 7

Agency Status


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General Description
Glabrous, fibrous-rooted perennial. Stems erect, 10–50 cm. Leaves serrate, dimorphic; basal leaves petiolate, simple; blade cordate, 1-8 cm long; upper leaves sessile, ternate with ovate leaflets. Umbels compact; rays 1–3 cm long, sometimes scabrous; involucral bracts absent or 1; involucel bracts linear, 2–5 mm long. Flowers yellow; sepals present; stylopodium absent. Mericarps glabrous, 2–4 mm long, ellipsoid, moderately compressed parallel to the commissure; ribs raised, not winged; oil tubes solitary in the intervals (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Our only species of Zizia in Montana. Previous reports of Zizia aure for Montana are referrable here.

Species Range

Range Comments
Zizia aptera ranges from Connecticut to Georgia, to Missouri and Michigan and the Dakotas the western states and Canadian provinces. There is one historical record from Rhode Island (Enser 1989). The sole record from Kansas is a misidentified specimen of Z. aurea (Freeman 1989).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 49

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist, often alkaline meadows, woodlands; plains, valleys, montane (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Potential and Known Pollinators:
The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus vagans, Bombus pensylvanicus, and Bombus griseocollis (Colla and Dumesh 2010).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Golden Alexanders — Zizia aptera.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from