This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Perennial rigid pubescent herbs, with alternate or basal, simple pinnately-veined leaves, and in our species glomerate bracted heads of blue or purple flowers in branching corymbs. Heads discoid, 2-5-flowered. Involucre compressed, oblong, its chaffy bracts imbricated in about 2 series, the 4 outer bracts shorter. Bracts of the glomerules large, foliaceous. Receptacle small, naked. Corolla nearly regular, 5-lobed, but a little deeper cleft on the inner side. Achenes 10-ribbed, truncate. Pappus of rigid persistent awn-like scales or bristles in 1 or 2 rows. [Greek, Elephant's-foot]
About 14 species, natives of tropical or warm regions. Besides the following, another occurs in the southern United States. Type species: Elephantopus scaber L.
Stem and branches leafy.
1. E. carolinianus.
Stem scapiform, naked, or with 1 or 2 leaves.
Leaves oblong or oblanceolate, 9"-2' wide; heads 4" long.
2. E. nudatus.
Leaves ovate, oval, or obovate, 2'-4' wide; heads 6 long.
3: E. tomentosus.
Elephantopus carolinianus Willd. Sp. Pl. 3: 2390. 1804.
Erect, hirsute-pubescent, or glabrate above, corymbosely branched above, 1°-3° high. Leaves oval, ovate, or obovate, thin, the lower rather abruptly narrowed into margined petioles, obtuse, crenate-dentate, 3'-8' long, 2-4' wide, the upper smaller, narrower and sessile; glomerules, including the bracts, nearly 1' broad; scales of the pappus lanceolate-subulate, gradually narrowed into a long slender awn.
In dry woods, southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Texas. Aug.-Sept.
Erect, rather stout, appressed-pubescent, or glabrate, 1°-2° high. Leaves oblong or oblanceolate, obtuse at the apex, gradually narrowed at the base, crenate or repand, 2-10' long, 9"-2' wide, the basal ones usually much larger than those of the stem and branches, or these usually few and bractlike; glomerules 6"-c/' broad; heads about 4" long; scales of the pappus ovate-triangular, abruptly narrowed into the awn.
In sandy woods, Delaware and Maryland to Florida, west to Arkansas and Louisiana. Aug.-Sept.
Elephantopus tomentosus L. Sp. Pl. 814. 1753.
Erect, villous-pubescent, or sometimes glabrate, 1°-2° high, the stem branching above, leafless or with 1 or 2 leaves. Basal leaves ovate, oval, oblong, or obovate, obtuse, sessile, narrowed at the base, usually silky-pubescent beneath, crenate-dentate, 4'-9' long, 2'-4' wide; glomerules 1'-1 1/2' broad; heads about 6" long; scales of the pappus triangular-subulate, gradually narrowed into the awn.
In moist soil, Virginia to Florida, west to Kentucky, Arkansas and Louisiana. Called also devil's-grandmother. Aug.-Sept.