Conoclinium coelestinum (L.) DC.
Family - Asteraceae
Stems - To 50cm tall, pubescent, herbaceous, typically single, forming colonies with creeping rhizomes, green to red.
Leaves - Opposite, deltoid to ovate, serrate to crenate-serrate, petiolate, to 10cm long, 5cm broad.
Inflorescence - Typically terminal corymbiform cyme of flower heads, flat to slightly domed. Peduncles dense puberulent, with small subulate bracts to 1mm long.
Involucre - To 5mm tall, campanulate to cylindric. Phyllaries attenuate, imbricate, to -3mm long, .7mm broad, reddish at apex. Flower heads with 30-70 flowers per head.
Ray flowers - Absent.
Disk flowers - Corolla purple to lilac, 5-lobed. Stamens 5, included. Style well exserted and bifurcate, pink, glabrous. Achenes subterete to 5-angled, 1mm long. Pappus of capillary bristles. Receptacle conic.
Flowering - July - October.
Habitat - Moist ground, low woods, stream banks, ditches, base of bluffs. Also cultivated.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This little species can be found mainly in the southern half of Missouri but it also occurs in a few counties north of the Missouri River. It is a striking species. The plant greatly resembles another commonly cultivated genus, Ageratum, but the latter is lacking a pappus, does not spread with creeping rhizomes, and is non-native.
Photographs taken along the shores of the Current River, Shannon County, MO., 7-15-03, and in Lochapoka, AL., 10-5-04.