Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Common Elephant's-foot - Elephantopus tomentosus   L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Elephantopus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionThroughout most of the state, but sparse in the Mountains and near the northeastern coast.

MD to KY and OK, south to northern FL and TX.
AbundanceCommon over most of the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont. Rare to uncommon in the southern Mountains and very rare in the northern Mountains. Scarce in the northeastern Coastal Plain.
HabitatDry to mesic woodlands of many types. Dry to mesic or xeric Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass uplands, dry savannas, and sandhills; pine-oak-hickory woodlands, and openings and clearings in the above. As with others in the genus, it favors shade or partial shade over sunny places.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-October.
IdentificationCommon Elephant's-foot has a few to several large, broad, basal leaves that form a rosette flat on the ground. The outer end is much the widest part of the leaf. One to a few stems grow 1-2 feet tall, generally densely hairy, terminated by several pink-purple heads (disk florets only) sitting on 3 triangular leafy bracts. Smooth Elephant's-foot (E. nudatus) is very similar but its stems are generally much less densely hairy, basal leaves average narrower, and the phyllaries (bracts which form the base of the head) are shorter (6-9 mm long vs. 10-13 mm long). Both species can occur within a few yards of each other.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Upland Elephant's-foot, Hairy Elephant's-foot
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieSame data; basal leaves. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
B.A. SorrieCarolina Sandhills NWR, SC, Sept 2015. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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