A SPRING BLOOMING NATIVE PLANT ZIZIA
Host plant for Black swallowtail...ZIZIA
Range & Habitat: Heartleaf Alexanders is restricted to NE Illinois, where it is an uncommon plant (see distribution map) .
It also occurs in Hardin county of SE Illinois. Habitats include moist to dry black soil prairies, hill prairies, rocky upland woodlands, limestone glades, bluffs, abandoned fields, and roadsides. Usually, this species occurs in drier locations than Zizia aurea (Golden Alexanders).
Insects visit the flowers primarily for nectar, especially small bees (Halictid, Andrenid, Nomadine) and flies (Chloropid, Tachinid, Muscid, Syrphid, etc.), as well as occasional beetles and plant bugs. The bees collect pollen as well, while some flies and beetles may feed on pollen. The caterpillars of Papilio polyxenes asterias (Black Swallowtail butterfly) feed on the foliage of this and other members of the Carrot family
The pretty yellow wildflowers of zizia begin blooming in April remaining in bloom long enough to be joined by the blue star shapes of amsonia and the spires of baptisia.
The fine green texture of sporobolus/prairie dropseed will still be growing low like a soft blowing groundcover and the strong structure of rattlesnakemaster/eringium yuccafolium will have emerged.
A picture of phlox divaricata blooming in a slightly shadier location in spring during the latter days of zizia's long spring bloom.
Zizia blooms in the background with shooting star/dodecatheon and geum/prairie smoke. The stalks of a later blooming white baptisia and the tall blue flowers of camasia bulbs lend height.
Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look at the yellow zizia (or other spring blooming native plants) in each photo. I have a new camera this year so close ups of blooms and their pollinating insects will be taken as they start to appear.