Elephantopus carolinianus mollis (Kunth) Beurl.
Elephantopus carolinianus simplex Nutt.
Elephantopus cernuus Vell.
Elephantopus hypomalacus S.F.Blake
Elephantopus martii Graham
Elephantopus pilosus Philipson
Elephantopus scaber auct.
Elephantopus scaber martii (Sch. Bip.) Hassk.
Elephantopus scaber tomentosus (L.) Sch.Bip.
Photograph by: Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 1975.
Elephantopus mollis is a herbaceous perennial plant growing up to 100cm tall, occasionally from a creeping rootstock[
]. The stems are unbranched, except for the inflorescence, but the plant produces basal rosettes of growth that densely cover the ground[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use.
Originally native to tropical America and the Caribbean, the plant is now a pantropical weed.
Open waste places and grasslands; at elevations up to 2,000 metres[
Requires a position in full sun, thriving in a range of moisture conditions[
Occurs as a major weed in pastures, an intermediate weed on roadsides and wasteland, and a minor weed in other disturbed places. It produces a thick ground cover that smothers other vegetation[
]. The seeds are dispersed by wind and also by adhering to clothing and animal fur, feathers etc[
The leaves and whole plant are antibacterial, antiviral, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, hepatic, tonic and vulnerary[
]. They are also reported to have an emetic action[
Applied externally, the leaves are macerated between the hands and the juice then applied topically to relieve itching, especially when this is due to athlete's foot[
]. The leaves, both fresh and crushed or dried and powdered, are applied to wounds as a vulnerary[
The plant contains the sesquiterpene lactone, deoxyelephantopin, which is an anti-tumor chemical[
Extracts of the whole plant significantly inhibit the Walker-256 carcinosarcoma in rats[
The plant produces a thick ground cover that smothers other vegetation[
]. This could be put to good use in the right situation, but the main problem is that the plant easily becomes a serious weed[
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