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Carolina Elephant's foot, Leafy Elephantfoot - Elephantopus carolinianus


Family: Asteraceae – Aster family Genus Common Name: Elephant's Foot Native Status: Native
Elephantopus carolinianus - Carolina Elephant's foot, Leafy Elephantfoot . This plant's alternating leaves arise along an unevenly pubescent stem. The plant branches at leaf axils usually after four non-branching leaf nodes. The blossom clusters, which arise from three leafy bracts, terminate the stems. The white to pale lavender blossoms are very interesting in that they usually give the appearance of having a circle of many rays, but these apparently lobes of the corolla of several disk flowers.

E. carolinianus is listed as endangered in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (USDA.)

Synonyms: Elephantopus flexuosus, Elephantopus violaceus, Elephantopus glaber

Check here for more information about Elephantopus carolinianus.

Distribution of Elephantopus carolinianus in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 18 Sep 2014). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2009-September-25Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Elephants Foot blossom is usually seen as white or very pale lavender; this photo is slightly underexposed, accentuating the lavender color. From this photo you can see the separation into multiple florets. What appears to be petals are actually five lobes on the corona of each disk floret. This member of the aster family has no ray flowers.
Elephantopus carolinianus

Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-September-25Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
The branches of Carolina Elephant’s arise at one of the alternating leaf nodes.
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Elephantopus carolinianus

Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-September-26Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Elephantopus carolinianus flower clusters terminate each of the several branches of the stem.
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Elephantopus carolinianus

Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-September-25Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
This image shows the sparse pubescence around the leaf nodes. While those two leaves, one with the branch arising from the axil, seem to be opposite, they are actually slightly offset from each other. E. elatus has a whorl of basal leaves; the lowest set of alternating leaves of E. carolinianus are almost, but not quite, that whorl but just up the stem a ways.
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Elephantopus carolinianus

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-October-24Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Carolina Elephant's Foot seed cluster.
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Elephantopus carolinianus

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2014
Photographs Copyrighted by the named photographer