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elephant's-foot

[el-uh-fuh nts-foo t] /ˈɛl ə fəntsˌfʊt/
noun, plural elephant's-foots.
1.
a climbing vine, Dioscorea elephantipes, of southern Africa, having a massive, edible, yamlike tuber.
Origin
1810-1820
1810-20
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for elephantfoot

elephant's-foot

noun
1.
a monocotyledonous plant, Testudinaria elephantipes, of southern Africa, with a very large starchy tuberous stem, covered in corky scales: family Dioscoreaceae
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for elephantfoot

elephant's-foot

an odd-looking twining plant of the yam family (Dioscoreaceae), characterized by a large, woody, and partially exposed tuber. It is native to semiarid areas in southern Africa. The tubercle-covered tuber, resembling an elephant's foot or a tortoise shell, once served as a food for local peoples during famine (hence the name "Hottentot bread"). The tuber can reach up to 1 m (3 feet) in diameter, and specimens weighing several hundred pounds have been reported. From such a root stock each year emerge thin climbing stems with small leaves. The plant is grown in desert gardens and conservatories as a curiosity.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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