Size: Up to 3 feet (.91 m), usually less and 2 feet (.61 m) or more wide.
Growth Form: Fairyduster is a low-growing inconspicuous (until it blooms) shrub or subshrub; without spines or thorns; gray to whitish stems (from pubescence); plants with multiple straggling branches.
Flower Color: Fairyduster flowers are pink, whitish or purplish-red; the flowers consist mostly of the long pink showy stamens that open into fluffy shaped pink balls; the fruit is a velvety pod which curls up and remains on the plants after it opens.
Flowering Season: February to April or May and September and October following summer monsoon rainfall; April to July in Texas.
Elevation: From 2,000 to 5,000 feet (610 - 1,524 m).
Habitat Preferences: Washes, dry gravelly soils, rocky slopes and mesas.
Recorded Range: In the United States, Fairyduster is found in the southwestern states of; AZ, CA, NM and TX. Greatest geographical distribution is found throughout most of Arizona; southern parts of California, southeast corner of New Mexico and extreme west Texas. It is also native to Baja California 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: Fairyduster is common where found and an important heat tolerant landscape plant in the southwest because of their showy flowers, otherwise they are somewhat inconspicuous. Once established, Fairyduster needs very little water to maintain a healthy appearance.
Fairyduster has attractive red showy flowers, their seeds and plants may be visited by small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of food, nectar and protection through cover.
According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the showy flowers of Fairyduster are an attraction to desert animals such as hummingbirds and the plants are readily browsed by deer while quail eat the seeds.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Honey Bees and Insects
Fairyduster has attractive red showy flowers, and both their flowers and plants may be visited or used by moths, flies, and other insects in search of nectar, food or shelter and protection.
According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center the nectar of the showy flowers is known to attract butterflies and bees.
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 species epithet “eriophylla” (eriophyl'la:) is from the Greek erion which menas "wool," and phyllon which means "leaf," referring to the matted white hairs that cover the plant when young.
The taxon description Calliandra eriophylla was published in 1844 by George Bentham, (1800-1884).
Ethnobotany - Native American Ethnobotany; University of Michigan - Dearborn
Fairyduster, Calliandra eriophylla is used for such purposes as described below.
Yavapai Drug, Gynecological Aid; Decoction of leaves and stems taken after childbirth.
See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.