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Patterson, Thomas F.; Nesom, Guy L. (2006). "Conoclinium". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 21. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.Conoclinium coelestinum, the blue mistflower, is a North American species of herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the sunflower family. 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.
Mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum, is covered with fuzzy tufts of blue-violet flowers for at least five weeks from late summer until frost. Around two feet high, Mistflower spreads to form a dense ground cover, or large patch, in partially shaded settings with moist well-drained soils. It also does well in full sun, given adequate moisture. A vigorous spreader by rhizome and seed, Mistflower can be thinned in early spring to control its spread on smaller sites. Otherwise it may be better suited for settings where it has some freedom to spread. Also known as Wild Ageratum, it is native to the east and southeastern United States. Plant with Blue Stemmed Goldenrod and White Woodland Aster, for a colorful fall pollinator buffet.
Molecular phylogenetic studies were conducted to clarify the phylogenetic placement of Conoclinium within Eupatorieae and to analyze interspecific relationships in the genus. Analysis of a six gene data set placed Conoclinium sister to Ageratum and closely related to Fleischmannia and Paneroa, a result that is consistent with the overall appearance and the phytochemistry of these genera but not with their current subtribal placement. Results of an analysis of noncoding DNA, including the chloroplast trnH-psbA spacer and the nuclear ITS and ETS regions, was consistent with the close relationship of Conoclinium to Ageratum, Fleischmannia, and Paneroa, and showed Conoclinium to be monophyletic. Within Conoclinium, the results of the phylogenetic analyses were slightly at variance with current classification, and it is suggested that C. dichotomum (populations from peninsular Florida previously included within C. coelestinum) and C. oligolepis (formerly C. betonicifolium var. integrifolium) be recognized as distinct species. The low overall sequence variability suggests that Conoclinium is a relatively recent arrival in eastern North America. Conoclinium mayfieldii is not monophyletic and the Sierra Madre Occidental populations of the species are herein recognized as a new species, C. gonzaleziae.Neotypes for C. dichotomum and C. oligolepis are designated.Tree from maximum likelihood analysis showing the relationships of Conoclinium based on the analysis of six markers (plastid rbcL, matK, ndhF, trnH-psbA; nuclear ITS, ETS); levels of support, shown as posterior probability/bootstrap %, with *=1.00 or 100%, shown above branches. (Source: bioone.org)