Tuesday, March 18, 2008


April will be here soon...and never fails to bring a few favorites.These pictures I took in springs past remind us of the beauty lying beneath todays snow storm in the upper midwest.

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).
heartleaf alexander

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
Golden alexander

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.


Blogger Dave Coulter said...

That's not fair to post these shots with snow on the ground! :)

23/3/08 9:00 PM  
Blogger firefly said...

Great pictures -- I didn't know Zizia was so pretty.

I planted some last year (Zizia aurea) but it was from the ill-fated Wildflower Farm order and I'm pretty sure it didn't survive transplanting.

25/3/08 3:14 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Dave, I love winter snow pictures but am ready for spring so want to see evidence of green and blooms.The next photos should be of current progress (said with fingers crossed).

firefly,zizzia is very pretty especially alongside blue flowers and lots of soft spring green (which is my favorite color).
I read about your plant loss problem last year. Will be keeping a close eye on your blog to see all the successful plants in a second and third year. Your garden should look lush and beautiful.

28/3/08 10:47 AM  
Blogger J-Dog said...

awesome! I can't wait to get started on my native garden (I wonder if these would work in a rain garden, I"ll have to research that). The name is cool too... Zizia. :) Thanks for the info. (I just subed to your blog so if you find comments from me on your archive posts, that's why.) :)

16/4/08 1:32 PM  

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