Also known as
Turtle Back, Olifantsvoet (Afr.), Tortoise plant
Photo by Helen_Allsebrook (All rights reserved)
This plant has no fragrance
More images of Elephant's Foot
Elephant's Foot Overview
The beauty of Dioscorea elephantipes lies in its beautiful above-ground caudex (stem). In some cases these caudexes can grow as much as 3 m in height and are divided into angled, corrugated fissures. Importantly, it is deciduous and loses its leaves in the summer. At this time it goes through a dry dormancy period where it should receive very little water, once new growth sprouts watering can begin again. This plant may sometimes be referred to as "Hottentot", an offensive term that was historically used to refer to the Khoikhoi, a member of a group of indigenous peoples of South Africa and Namibia. We do not support the usage of such a term. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Western Cape.
Common problems with Elephant's Foot
Susceptible to aphids when grown under glass or indoors.
How to harvest Elephant's Foot
Generally not harvested
How to propagate Elephant's Foot
Seeds are winged and should be sown in flat seed pans in autumn. Cover with a sowing medium not deeper than 4-5 cm. Use sandy loam with very well-rotted compost, move to a sunny location.
Propagate from seed, by division or cuttings of an old tuber.
Special features of Elephant's Foot
Plant in a large pot with extremely coarse, well-drained soil, and water sparsely.
Can go long periods without water.
Keep indoors in areas with high rainfall - this one prefer dry areas!
Other uses of Elephant's Foot
Grown for their decorative leaves.