ELEPHANT'S-FOOT, the popular name for the plant Testudinaria elephantipes, a native of the Cape of Good Hope. It takes its name from the large tuberous stem, which grows very slowly but often reaches a considerable size, e.g. more than 3 yds. in circumference with a height of nearly 3 ft. above ground. It is rich in starch, whence the name Hottentot bread, and is covered on the outside with thick, hard, corky plates. It develops slender, leafy, climbing shoots which die down each season. It is a member of the monocotyledonous order Dioscoreaceae, climbing plants with slender herbaceous or shrubby shoots, to which belong the yam and the British black bryony, Tamus communis.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)