|Photo by Eleanor Dietrich|
Tall elephantsfoot is a short-lived, perennial wildflower. Its small flowers are tubular and pale lavender. Flowerheads are subtended by three leaf-like bracts that are hairy and deltoid in shape. Stems are hairy and erect, emerging from a basal rosette of flat, elliptic to lanceolate leaves. Stem leaves are elliptic, sessile and alternately arranged. The abundance of hairs on much of the foliage gives it a grayish hue.
Tall elephantsfoot typically blooms summer through fall. It occurs naturally in flatwoods, sandhills, upland mixed woodlands, ruderal areas and wet prairies. It attracts a variety of pollinators.
|Basal rosette and flower stalk.|
Photo by Shirley Denton.
The species name, elatus, comes from the Latin, elat, or raised. Hence the common name, tall elephantsfoot. Both the scientific and common names are a reference to the flat basal leaves from which the tall flower stalk arises.
Family: Asteraceae (Composite or daisy family)
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida
Hardiness: Zones 8–11
Soil: Slightly moist to very dry, sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun to shade
Growth habit: 2–3'+ tallPropagation: Seeds
Garden tips: Tall elephantsfoot does well in a naturalized meadow but can also be a nice addition to a more formal wildflower garden.
Tall elephantsfoot seeds are available through the Florida Wildflower Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.
To see where tall elephantsfoot occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.