in A. Gray et al., Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 1(2): 419. 1884.
Annuals, 5–35 cm; taprooted. Stems 0. Leaves basal; petiolate; blades linear to narrowly oblanceolate, 2–20 cm, margins entire, dentate, or pinnately lobed, apices acuminate, faces glabrous or lightly scurfy-puberulent. Peduncles erect or curved-ascending, ebracteate. Involucres globose to ovoid in fruit, 4–8(–10) mm. Phyllaries: apices acute to acuminate, faces glabrous; outer deltate; inner lanceolate (midveins often purple, thickened). Florets 5–100; corollas yellow or orange, equaling or surpassing phyllaries by 1–2 mm. Cypselae columnar to obconic, 1.5–3 mm; pappi of (4–)5 white or brownish, ovate to deltate, aristate scales 0.2–2.5 mm (straight or slightly arcuate, scarcely involute, glabrous, midveins linear, widths less than 1/5 bodies, thicker at base), aristae (brown, fine) barbellulate. 2n = 18.
Phenology: Flowering Apr–Jun.
Habitat: Mostly clay soils, flats and hillsides, often near vernal pools, grasslands, shrublands
Elevation: 10–700 m
Calif., Mexico (Baja California).
Microseris elegans is widespread in interior central California, becoming coastal in the southwestern part of its range. It was hypothesized to be one of the diploid ancestors of M. campestris (K. L. Chambers 1955); molecular evidence supporting that relationship was presented by D. Roelofs et al. (1997).