6. Madia elegans D. Don ex Lindley, Edwards’s Bot. Reg. 17: plate 1458. 1831.
Madia elegans subsp. densifolia (Greene) D. D. Keck; M. elegans subsp. vernalis D. D. Keck; M. elegans subsp. wheeleri (A. Gray) D. D. Keck
Plants 6–250 cm, self-incom-patible (heads showy). Stems proximally villous to hirsute, distally glandular-pubescent, glands yellowish, purple, or black, lateral branches sometimes surpassing main stems. Leaf blades lanceolate to linear, 3–20 cm × 2–20 mm. Heads in open, corymbiform arrays. Involucres ± globose to campanulate, 4.5–12 mm. Phyllaries ± hirsute or villous, usually glandular-pubescent as well, glands yellowish, purple, or black, apices erect or reflexed, flat. Paleae mostly persistent, mostly connate 1/2+ their lengths. Ray florets (2–)5–22; corollas bright yellow (sometimes with maroon bases), laminae 4–20 mm. Disc florets 25–80+, functionally staminate; corollas 2.5–5 mm, pubescent; anthers yellow to brownish or ± dark purple. Ray cypselae black or brown, sometimes mottled, dull, compressed or ± 3-angled (slightly rounded abaxially, angled 15–45° adaxially), beakless (or nearly so). Disc cypselae 0. 2n = 16.
Flowering Apr–Nov. Grasslands, meadows, open sites in shrublands, woodlands, and forests, disturbed sites, often in coarse or clayey soils, sometimes serpentine; 0–3400 m; Calif., Nev., Oreg., Wash.; Mexico (Baja California).
Madia elegans occurs widely in California outside the deserts and in southwestern Oregon and locally in western Nevada and Washington. It is unusually variable in morphology, ecology, and phenology. Molecular data have indicated that D. D. Keck’s (1959) infraspecific taxonomy for M. elegans needs revision. Putative natural (sterile) hybrids with M. sativa have been collected (e.g., D. D. Keck 2647, UC, from northern California).