Elephantopus carolinianus Willd. - Elephant's Foot

Elephantopus carolinianus plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - Erect, to 1m tall, branching, herbaceous, with uneven hirsute pubescence on stem(mostly pubescent at and just below the nodes), from tough stout roots.

Leaves - Alternate, sessile, elliptic to oblanceolate or spatulate, acute to acuminate, shallow serrate to crenate-serrate, slightly scabrous and pubescent below, sparse pubescent and shiny dark green above, to -30cm long, -10cm broad, tapering to base.

Elephantopus carolinianus leaves

Inflorescence - Capitate cluster (glomerule) of flower heads terminating stems. Peduncles to +10cm, antrorse appressed pubescent. Peduncles subtended by single foliaceous bract. Flower clusters subtended by typically three foliaceous bracts to +/-4cm long. Bracts with antrorse appressed pubescence.

Elephantopus carolinianus inflorescence

Involucre - Phyllaries loose, to -1cm long, 2mm broad, acute, green in upper 1/2, scarious below.

Ray flowers - Absent.

Disk flowers - Corolla lilac to whitish, irregularly 5-lobed. Corolla tube 5mm long, glabrous. Lobes to 5mm long, linear, glabrous. Stamens 5, adnate at base of corolla tube. Anthers connate around style, 2mm long, exserted. Style included. Achene (in flower) white, pubescent, 2mm long. Pappus of 5 bristles. Bristles to 5mm long, slightly flattened and expanded at base.

Elephantopus carolinianus flowersDisk flowers.

Flowering - July - October.

Habitat - Low woods, ravines, streambanks, moist thickets, open woods.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This plant is common in the lower 1/2 of Missouri. It is simple to identify in the field as no other plant even resembles it. The plant prefers shaded moist woods.
The flowers are typically more blue than they appear in the pics above.

Photographs taken in Vale, NC., 8-23-03.


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