Friday, October 16, 2015

Flower Friday: You won't find any toes on this elephantsfoot.

Photo by Eleanor Dietrich
Tall elephantsfoot (Elephantopus elatus) 

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 genus
Elephantopus comes from the Greek elephantos, or elephant, and pous, or foot.
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'+ tall
Propagation: 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.

1 comment:

B Lee D FERGUSON said...

I look forward 2 your Florida Wildflower posts every fryday:) ...just gorgeous!