This is a cool member of the Aster Family that I saw on my visit to southern Illinois last month. It is a late Summer-to-Fall blooming herbaceous perennial that is native to the Eastern United States.
Also known as Wild Ageratum, it bears fluffy-looking, delicate flowers that are colored in pastel shades of pink, lavender or blue; it often occurs in large stands.
Mist Flower occurs in bottomland forests, swamps, the banks of streams and rivers, the edges of ponds and lakes, marshes, ditches, gardens, railroads, roadsides and shaded-to-open disturbed areas.
Butterflies, Skippers and Long-tongued Bees are strongly attracted to the flowers. Other insects eat the foliage. Not many mammals eat this plant, because of its bitter taste.
Other occasional visitors include Short-tongued bees, various flies, moths and beetles. These insects primarily seek nectar, although the bees often collect pollen as well.
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 plant is closely related to the white-flowered Bonesets.