A genus of about 12-30 species, of tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions.
ID notes: The acaulescent species are easily and often confused with Vernonia acaulis, especially when sterile. Vernonia has leaves scabrous above and sparsely pilose to glabrate beneath; Elephantopus has leaves sparely pilose above, densely pilose or tomentose below. Vernonia leaves tend to have a more acute apex, and the veins above are more strikingly differentiated in their color (white or pink) from the adjacent leaf tissue. When in flower, the presence of subtending foliose bracts below the compound glomerule of heads in Elephantopus (versus the absence of foliose bracts below the simple head in Vernonia) is diagnostic.