Size: 3 to 6 feet (.91 - 1.8 m) or more and 4 to 5 feet (1.2 - 1.5 m) wide; if cultivated plants are generally wider than tall.
Growth Form: Baja Fairy Duster is an evergreen shrub; plants woody.
Leaves: Baja Fairy Duster has green leaves, the leaves are bipinnately, compound and close at night.
Flower Color: Baja Fairy Duster has showy red tufted flowers in clusters, flowers are a semi-circular powder-puff display of very showy stamens that attract pollinators; cultivated plants may bloom year-round; the fruit is a light green typical pea-like pod.
Flowering Season: Late spring and early summer but may bloom year-round in some warmer geographic areas.
Elevation: 70 feet (21 m) or more.
Habitat Preferences: Low desert areas in Baja California and northern Mexico; near water when possible, washes and alkaline soils.
Recorded Range: Baja California and islands west including Isla Santa Margarita and northern Mexico.
Genus Information: In North America, USDA Plants Database lists 11native species for Calliandra. Worldwide, World Flora Online includes 245 accepted species for the genus.
The genus Calliandra was published in 1840 by George Bentham, (1800-1884)
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 2 species of Calliandra, California has 1 species, Nevada has 0 species, New Mexico has 2 species, Texas has 5 species, Utah has 0 species. Data approximate, subject to revision.
Comments: Baja Fairy Duster is native to North America but not in the United States. It is however a premier accent landscape plant in many parts of the southwest, preferring full sunlight. For lush late spring growth plants may be cut back about 12 inches (3.6 m) from the crown. As a bonus this species with its beautiful red showy flowers readily attracts hummingbirds
Baja Fairy Duster has attractive red showy flowers, the flowers, their seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and may be visited by small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of food, nectar and protection through cover.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Honey Bees and Insects
Baja Fairy Duster has attractive red showy flowers, the flowers are known to attract to bees and butterflies; also, their flowers and plants may be visited or used by moths, flies, and other insects in search of nectar, food or shelter and protection.
The following species are known to utilize Calliandra californica:
Marine Blue Caterpillar, Leptotes marina
Ceraunus Blue, Hemiargus ceraunus
Find out more here from Butterflies and Moths of North America.
The genus “Calliandra” (Callian'dra:) is from the Greek word kallos meaning "beautiful" and andra meaning "stamen" a direct reference to the showy red stamens in the flower.
The genus Calliandra was published in 1840 by George Bentham, (1800-1884).
The taxon description Calliandra californica was published in 1844 by George Bentham, (1800-1884).
The species epithet “californica” (califor'nica:) means of or from California, a reference to its native Baja California and not the state.
Ethnobotany - Native American Ethnobotany; University of Michigan - Dearborn