fairy duster Fabaceae Calliandra
eriophylla Benth. symbol: CAER
Leaf: Alternate, deciduous to tardily deciduous, bipinnately compound, feathery, usually with 4 (sometimes 6) major leaflets, whole leaf up to 1 1/2 inches long, individual leaflets narrowly ovate to lanceolate, 1/8 to 1/4 inch long.
Flower: Very showy, occurring in rounded red, pink, or white fluffy stamen heads. Individual flowers are small with long (1 to 2 inch) stamens, appearing primarily in spring and may flowering again in the fall.
Fruit: Flattened, dry, brown, pubescent, pea-like pods, 2 to 4 inches long, popping open and ejecting seeds at maturity, curled open pods persisting on the twig.
Twig: Slender, zigzag, gray-brown with fine pale pubescence, weak paired spines at the nodes.
Bark: Smooth brown, weathering to gray.
Form: A 1 to 4 foot tall low-branching shrub, generally inconspicuous until it flowers.
Looks like: Baja fairy duster - catclaw mimosa - catclaw acacia - screwbean mesquite
Additional Range Information: Calliandra eriophylla is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting fairy duster.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson