Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)
31 October 2014: We first noticed Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) while we photographed butterflies next to the Pavillion area of the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) in Lewisville, Texas. It was clear that the butterflies on that day we were there were appreciating the nectar the native flowering plant had to offer. At least four butterflies were attracted to it including Monarch, Variegated Fritillary, Gulf Fritillary, and Orange Sulphur, and these were the ones we were able to observe as there were surely others who did as well. Blue Mistflower is known by additional common names including Mistflower, Wild Ageratum, and Blue Boneset. Not only is Blue Mistflower a native wildflower that’s found generally in nearly the entire eastern half of Texas and in some counties of South Texas, but generally it is found in the eastern half of the United States from Texas to Michigan and Pennsylvania in the Great Lakes area and has been introduced into southeastern Canadian provinces. Because its occurrence has been confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture in Webb and Kleberg counties in South Texas and on the Texas-Mexico border, it is likely that it occurs as a native wildflower in Mexico’s northeastern states especially in Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. The Natural Resources Conservation Service range map places Blue Mistflower occurring in most counties in the North Central Texas region including Denton County where we made the current observation. Because of its native status in Texas and North America, Blue Mistflower is definitely an authentic resident of the Western Hemisphere. LLELA is administered by a joint partnership including the US Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Lewisville, Texas, the Lewisville Independent School District, and the University of North Texas.
Here’s the brief thumbnail sketch that appears for Blue Mistflower at the online site hosted by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin: “Mistflower grows to 3 feet high, but often lower, with leaves opposite, somewhat triangular in shape, and bluntly toothed. At the top of the plant the branches, with their short-stemmed clusters of flowers, form an almost flat top. Disk flowers are bright blue or violet, about 1/4 inch long. There are no ray flowers. Blue Mistflower attracts bees and butterflies. However, this wildflower spreads quickly and can become a pest.”
“Conoclinium coelestinum (L.) DC.,” Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin, range, description, photographs, resource links, accessed 1.16.16, http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=COCO13
“Conoclinium coelestinum (L.) DC.,” Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, range map, description, classification, resource links, accessed 1.16.16, http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=coco13
One of the few flowers still blooming out in the tallgrass prairie within the park.
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.