Highly sensitive flow cytometry studies may incidentally identify B cell clones when used to assess plasma cell clonality in bone marrows. Clinical history, which can help differentiate related clones (low grade B cell lymphoma with plasmacytic differentiation/LBCL-PD) from unrelated ones (plasma cell proliferative disorder (PCPD) with an unrelated B cell clone), is often unavailable in referred specimens. We sought to identify morphologic or phenotypic features that would help predict the significance of these clones in the absence of history. We included only cases with identical light chain B and plasma cell clones, as determined by 6-color flow cytometry with additional DNA ploidy analysis, in which the relationship between clones could be established by review of medical records. There were 26 cases; 18 were related (14 were Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia) and eight were unrelated (seven multiple myeloma). Features seen exclusively in LBCL-PD include CD19+/CD45+ clonal plasma cell phenotype (66·7%, P = 0·0022) and morphologic features such as paratrabecular bone marrow involvement, increased mast cells, and plasma cells surrounding B-cell nodules. Aneuploidy was identified exclusively in PCPD cases (75%, P = 0·000028). We conclude that CD19+/CD45+ clonal plasma cell phenotype and aneuploidy are useful in distinguishing related clones (LBCL-PD) from unrelated clones (PCPD).