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Elephant’s Foot, Tall    Elephantopus elatus

One of four Elephantopus species, this is the only one that extends into southern Florida.  It is a native perennial herb that grows to a height of 2-3 feet.  It is found in pine flatwoods, sandhills, and open dry woodlands.

This plant has large basal leaves ranging from 4-10 inches long and 3 inches wide.  The stems are stout, hairy, and branched above.  There are a few small stem leaves that are attached alternately.

Compact flat clusters of flowers about 1-inch wide from at the top of the stems.  Each cluster contains numerous whitish pink or lavender tubular flowers subtended by three triangular leaf-like hairy bracts.  These flowers bloom from April through November with only a few opening at any one time.

Although the flowers aren’t very showy, a wide variety of bees, butterflies, and pollinating insects visit this plant.

Elephantopus means “like an elephant’s foot,” referring to the large basal rosette of leaves at the base of the plant.  Although the leaves are large, they really don’t resemble an elephant’s foot.

The images on this page were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County.