Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Madia elegans
common madia, autumn showy tarweed

Distribution: Occurring chiefly in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington; south-central Washington to California.

Habitat: Dry, open places, often becoming a roadside weed.

Flowers: July-September

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Annual

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, bees, beetles, moths


Tar-scented, coarse annual, 2-12 dm. tall, covered with short, stiff hairs throughout and stalked glands at least above.


Leaves linear to lanceolate, entire, the lower 3-20 cm. long and 1.5-20 mm. wide, the middle and upper leaves reduced.


Heads several in an open inflorescence, the lateral branches often topping the central; involucre hemispheric, 7-11 mm. high, the bracts in a single series, equal, the flat tips of the bracts well developed, the lower portion clasping the ray achene; rays about 13, 10-17 mm. long, pistillate and fertile, yellow, often with a basal maroon blotch; disk flowers sterile, yellow, surrounded by a cup of united bracts attached to the receptacle, which is covered with erect, straight hairs; pappus none.


Ray achenes flattened.

Accepted Name:
Madia elegans D. Don ex Lindl.
Publication: Edwards’s Bot. Reg. 17: plate 1458. 1831.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Madia elegans D. Don ex Lindl. ssp. densiflora (Greene) D.D. Keck
Madia elegans D. Don ex Lindl. ssp. elegans
Madia elegans D. Don ex Lindl. ssp. vernalis D.D. Keck
Madia elegans D. Don ex Lindl. var. densifolia (Greene) Jeps. [HC]
Madia elegans D. Don ex Lindl. var. elegans [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Madia elegans in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Madia elegans checklist entry

OregonFlora: Madia elegans information

E-Flora BC: Madia elegans atlas page

CalPhotos: Madia elegans photos

35 photographs:
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