Madia elegans is generally known as the elegant or common madia, but there are several subspecies known by various common names.
It is native to western North America from south-central Washington (state) to northern Baja California. It may be found in dry open forest, disturbed areas and grasslands from low to high elevations.
Madia elegans is covered with short, stiff hairs. Glands are borne on stalks, especially near the flowers. The showy flower varies in appearance across subspecies and even within subspecies. Typically, it is a bright yellow daisy-like bloom with numerous thin ray flowers and several central disk flowers. It may be solid lemon yellow or have a center of a different color, from white to maroon. Several strongly scented, uncrowded, flower heads grow at the end of a slender green stem. The ray flowers curl up during the daytime, opening in the late afternoon and staying open all night until mid-morning. It flowers from April through early November.
The foliage exudes a fragrant oil, hence another common name of tarweed
Its fruits (achenes) were historically used as food by Native Americans, including the Pomo and Miwok, who baked them or ground them into flour.