There are four subspecies of Madia elegans, all of which have black or dark brown disk flower anthers. The fourth subspecies (Wheeler’s madia) has yellow disk flower anthers. The ray flowers in all four subspecies are yellow.
Common madia, also colloquially called elegant madia, belongs to the ssp elegans variety. This subspecies usually has yellow ray flowers with maroon or dark brown petal bases, although some Madia elegans ssp elegans plants display solid lemon yellow ray flowers. These common madia specimens with completely yellow ray flowers can be distinguished from Wheeler’s madia, which also has totally yellow ray flowers, by the dark anthers on the common disk flowers in contrast to the yellow anthers of Wheeler’s madia.
A native annual found in open, dry forests, disturbed areas and grasslands of the North American West, common madia’s daisy-like flowers open up in the late afternoon and stay open until mid morning when the ray flowers curl up. When passing a field of common madia in the early morning, the bright yellow flowers, which face the rising sun, are a cheerful sight. Returning later in the morning the flowers with their curled leaves are barely noticeable.
These Madia elegans ssp elegans were photographed between the North and South Elkins barns at Ash Creek Wildlife Area near Lookout CA (Modoc County).