Many times, I have walked across open fields and pine flatwoods in the mid afternoon sun at the end of summer, and been fortunate to witness countless pollinators, including bees, flies, and beautiful butterflies such as fritillaries and swallowtails, nectaring at these pretty, light purple flowers. Look at the flowerheads of this native wildflower from above... they usually have three leaves surrounding them creating a triangular shape. It is neither an edible nor a safe herbal plant, but it truly is a beautiful plant to know. This particular species, elatus, is the most widespread of our four native Elephantopus species found here in Florida.
CAUTION: The book, Medicinal Natural Products: A Biosynthetic Approach, by Paul Dewick, states that Elephantopus may be toxic, especially cytotoxic, due to the chemical germacranolide elephantopin.
VERY LITTLE IS WRITTEN OF THIS PARTICULAR SPECIES' MEDICINAL USES: Medicinal properties of native plants currently under evaluation include” this species, which contains “chemistry of two tumor inhibiting structures.” Florida Ethnobotany lists no uses.
NATIVE TO: “Florida to South Carolina and Louisiana.” 
HABITAT: Usually found in pine flatwoods.  Dry woods, usually associated with pine, pine barrens, dry oak hammocks, deciduous forests, scrubby flatwoods, shaded roadsides.
DESCRIPTION: An herbaceous short-lived perennial, 1-3 feet tall, very rarely to 4 feet. Winter dormant. 
- STEMS: Hairy.
- LEAVES: Alternate, lanceolate, pubescent, mostly basal, only a few stem leaves, to 8" long, "darker on the upper side."
- FLOWERS: "The plant produces numerous small flowerheads in a tight cluster, each head generally containing only 4-5 florets." Branched atop stems, purple to pink, sometimes white, appear August-October. The flowers may occasionally appear in white.
WILDLIFE: The flowers attract many pollinators, including bees, tachnid flies, and butterflies.
- HARDINESS: USDA Zones 8A to 10B [10F].
- LIGHT: Full to part sun.
- USES: “Good for accents, borders, and xeriscapes.”  "Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also wildflower gardens." 
SIMILAR SPECIES: Three other species of Elephantopus occur in the wild here in Florida, and all three are native. 2bnthewild.com lists these related species: “Smooth Elephant’s Foot, Elephantopus nudatus, is very similar but with smooth leaves. Elephant's Foot, Elephantopus tomentosus, has large basal leaves and, usually, purple flowers. Carolina Elephant's Foot, Elephantopus carolinianus, usually has no basal leaves. The flowers tend to be white.”
A SIMILAR AFRICAN SPECIES: This species looks very much like the related, Elephantopus scaber of tropical eastern Africa, a traditional medicine [anti-inflammatory],  the leaves of which are sometimes gathered in the wild and eaten.  SEE CAUTION ABOVE. E. scaber is “cooked and eaten like spinach”  and is “used in Colombia and Brazil as a tonic, febrifuge, and diaphoretic, against cough, bronchitis, and asthma.” [Roig, 1945 via 1].
Rate of GrowthModerate
Ease of growth
Sources for acquiring
floridanativenurseries.org lists the following Florida nurseries:
Green Images Native Landscape Plants - (407) 568-1333, Christmas, FL
Jesse Durko's Nursery - (954) 792-2297, Davie
Natives of Corkscrew Nursery - (239) 849-9230, Estero
 Florida Ethnobotany
 Medicinal Plants of the Asia-Pacific: Drugs for the Future?, by Wart
 Katherine Edison
 Florida Wildflower Cooperative
 Ethnobotany of Wildflowers, A Growing Part of Florida History by Claudia Larsen
 Mark Hutchinson
 Susan Leach Snyder
 Useful Tropical Plants
 Cornucopia 2
 Florida Native Plant Society [fnps.org]
 Medicinal Natural Products: A Biosynthetic Approach, by Paul Dewick
 Regional Conservation