Plant Details

Elephantopus tomentosus

Common Elephant's-foot, Elephant's Foot, Devil's Grandmother

Scientific Name:

Elephantopus tomentosus

Common Name:

Common Elephant's-foot, Elephant's Foot, Devil's Grandmother

Plant Family

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


NC Native



Bloom Color(s):

pink to pale purple, rarely white

Size in Feet:

.3 to 2


part-sun, shade

Soil Moisture:

sub-xeric to sub-mesic(*)

Bloom Time:

August - November

Bloom Area:

common in Coast and Piedmont, rare in Mountains

Habitat Description:

Woodlands and woodland borders, usually fairly dry. Common in NC Coastal Plain and Piedmont, rare in the Mountains.

State Rank:

No NC Rank Listed (*)

Global Rank:

No Global Rank listed (*)

State Status:

No NC Status Listed (*)

Federal Status:

No U.S. Status Listed (*)


Leaves are mostly basal, although there may be a few small alternate leaves along the stems. Elephantopus carolinianus, Carolina Elephant's-foot, is also found throughout North Carolina, and has similar flowers but instead of basal leaves it has well-developed, alternate leaves along the stem.

In bloom

Small though the flowers are, Elephant's Foot attracts butterflies and other pollinators.


Paynter, Wilmington, 9.1.2013

Closeup of flowers


Paynter, Wilmington, 9.1.2013

Plant structure

The large hairy leaves flat to the ground give the plant one of its common names. The stem has few or no small leaves and divides into the flowering stalks.


Paynter, Wilmington, September

Basal leaves

Common Elephant's Foot (E. tomentosus) is very like its close relative, Smooth Elephant's Foot (E. nudatus). The leaves are wider and the dense hairs, especially on the underside, are spreading or reflexed, not appressed


Paynter, Wilmington


USDA PLANTS Database Record

Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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