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Common Elephant's Foot Elephantopus tomentosus

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Elephantopus carolinianus var. simplex
  • Elephantopus nudicaulis
Phonetic Spelling
el-eh-fun-TOE-pus toh-men-TOH-sus
Description

Elephant's foot is a wildflower in the Asteraceae (daisy family) native from Texas to the southeastern U.S.A.   It can be found growing in its natural habitat of fairly dry woodlands and woodland borders.  It may also be found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, clear cut, or burned locations.  

It prefers average, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. It has a short rhizome and grows quickly to a height of 2 feet with pink or purple flowers.  The leaves form at the base of the plants, are of various sizes, overlap each other around the stem, and lay flat close to the ground.  The flowering stalk has no leaves, with the exception of the bracts under the flowers.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Because of its aggressive tendencies and ability to self-seed easily is it not recommended as a landscape plant.  The growth habit (leaves forming just above ground level) tends to smother out other plant growth and because the leaves are so close to the ground a weed trimmer is fairly useless in managing them.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#pink flowers#native perennials#aggressive#NC native#native garden#pollinator plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#native weed#food source herbage#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#weed#wildlife friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#pink flowers#native perennials#aggressive#NC native#native garden#pollinator plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#native weed#food source herbage#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#weed#wildlife friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Elephantopus
    Species:
    tomentosus
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used in Asia for treatment of pain and inflammation.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies and other pollinators. The leaves are eaten by wildlife.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Ribbed achene
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Head
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are in head form arranged in panicles or corymbs. 4 to 5 lobed (funnelform) disk flowers are pink or purple, rarely white surrounded by three conspicuous bracts. Bloom from August through November.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblanceolate
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are veined, typically basal lying flat on the ground, however, you may find a few alternate leaves along the stem.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The hairy stem has few (if any) small leaves and divides into flowering stalks.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Problems:
    Weedy