Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla)

Family: Fabaceae

Another of the leguminous perennial plants so characteristic of our Sonoran Desert, Fairy Duster is a small shrub scattered about our lands, in some places profusely. It blooms mainly during our winter rainy season, October through April; depending on rains. The photograph above was taken in Sierra Blanca Canyon Wash in March 2005.

Below, a closeup showing the characteristic leaves of Pea Family plants -- twice-compound, shaped very much like acacia leaves only much smaller. You can also see the "pink powder puff" flowers more clearly here, with "long stamens, white at [the] base and tipped with pink" making up the puff. (Epple, cited on main flower page, p. 106).

As Epple remarks, Fairy Duster is a valuable soil-binding plant in our area. It is thornless. "Many desert animals feed on its foliage, and insects and hummingbirds frequent its flowers." (Epple, op.cit.)