Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). Mistflower is an erect (to 3 feet), rhizomatous perennial, often forming colonies. It is a U.S. native. The opposite leaves are oval-shaped, hairy, and have toothed edges. The small flower heads are clustered at the top of the plant. They are powder blue to violet and fluffy in appearance, similar to Ageratums used as garden bedding plants. The tiny seeds are black, elongated, and have long white hairs attached to one end.
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Distribution and adaptation
Mistflower is adapted to most soil types, but is especially suited to heavy textured and to highly organic soils. Natural stands are found on moist to wet sites, such as low woods, wet meadows, and ditches. It grows best in full sun, but will tolerate light shade.
Blue mistflower is distributed throughout the eastern and midwest United States. For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Website.
Catalog Number: US 1571117
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. Benke
Year Collected: 1931
Locality: Creal Springs., Williamson, Illinois, United States, North America
- Isotype: Benke, H. C. 1933. Rhodora. 35: 46.
A clean, firm seedbed is essential. The site should be treated with a herbicide to control existing vegetation, tilled, cultipacked once or twice, and allowed to settle thoroughly before sowing. Broadcast ½ to ¾ gram seed per 100 square feet (½ to ¾ lb/acre). Bulk sowing rates usually need to be increased to allow for low purity values. The seed can be mixed with sand or rice hulls to increase volume so that it will be easier to spread uniformly over the planting site. Seed must remain on the soil surface because they are easily smothered when buried in the soil. The seed will not germinate until the following spring, but will benefit from the cool, moist winter environment.
Flower-Visiting Insects of Mistflower in Illinois
(this plant is also referred to as Conoclinium coelestinum; bees collect pollen or suck nectar; flies feed on pollen or suck nectar; other insects suck nectar; observations are from Robertson)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus pensylvanica sn cp, Psithyrus variabilis sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn cp; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile mendica sn cp
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella aurata sn cp, Augochlorella striata sn, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn cp, Halictus ligatus sn cp, Lasioglossum imitatus sn
Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila nigricans
Syrphidae: Toxomerus geminatus fp; Bombyliidae: Sparnopolius confusus sn; Tachinidae: Estheria abdominalis sn, Plagiomima spinosula sn; Muscidae: Stomoxys calcitrans sn
Nymphalidae: Danaus plexippus, Limenitis archippus, Phyciodes tharos; Pieridae: Colias philodice fq
Hesperiidae: Euphyes vestris, Polites peckius, Polites themistocles
Ctenuchidae: Cisseps fulvicollis
Cantharidae: Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Conoclinium coelestinum
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Conoclinium coelestinum
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 12
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).
Please contact your local agricultural extension specialist or county weed specialist to learn what works best in your area and how to use it safely. Always read label and safety instructions for each control method. Trade names and control measures appear in this document only to provide specific information. USDA, NRCS does not guarantee or warranty the products and control methods named, and other products may be equally effective.
Apply fertilizer according to soil test recommendations. If not available, a rate of 3½ to 5½ oz/100 square feet (100 to 150 lbs/acre) of 13-13-13 should be applied after the seedlings are established and annually thereafter. Stands can be mowed in the spring and early summer. Later mowings should be delayed until the plants have set seed.
This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed. Please consult with your local NRCS Field Office, Cooperative Extension Service office, or state natural resource or agriculture department regarding its status and use. Weed information is also available from the PLANTS Web site at plants.usda.gov.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
This plant is used mainly for landscape beautification. It has potential for use in cultivated, garden situations, in naturalized prairie or meadow plantings, and along roadsides.
Conoclinium coelestinum, the blue mistflower, is a species of herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It was formerly classified in the genus Eupatorium, but phylogenetic analyses in the late 20th century research indicated that that genus should be split, and the species was reclassified in Conoclinium.
C. coelestinum can reach a height of about 3 feet (0.91 m). It has opposite leaves, almost triangular-shaped. On the top this plant forms clusters of bright blue, violet or white flowers, about 1/4 inch long. It flowers from July to November.
Blue mistflower is often grown as a garden plant, although it does have a tendency to spread and take over a garden. It is recommended for habitat restoration within its native range, especially in wet soils.
This species prefers wood edges, sandy woodlands and clearings, wet meadows and stream banks.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Conoclinium coelestinum.|
- Schmidt, G. J. and E. E. Schilling. (2000). Phylogeny and biogeography of Eupatorium (Asteraceae: Eupatorieae) based on nuclear ITS sequence data. Am J Bot 87(5) 716-26.
Names and Taxonomy
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