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Calliandra eriophylla

About Fairyduster (Calliandra eriophylla) Fairy Duster is a low spreading shrub which is native to deserts and arid grasslands in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas and Mexico. The flowers, which appear between late winter and late spring, have dense clusters of pale to deep pink stamens and are about 5 centimeters (2 inches) wide. Like many desert trees and shrubs, it is a member of the Fabaceae. It is in the Mimosoideae subfamily in which the long, colorful filaments of the anthers are the most attractive part of the flower. Although it is a desert plant, its water requirements are higher. It is typically found where there is some subsurface water year-round. This species should not be confused with Calliandra californica, a Baja endemic with deep red flowers, which is more commonly available in the horticultural trade.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 3 ft (0.3 - 0.9 m)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)



Growth Rate
Slow, Moderate


Opposite, pinnately compound, blue-green in color

Flower Color
Purple, Pink

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Sandy washes, slopes, mesas


Elevation ?
304' - 3881'

Annual Precip. ?
3.2" - 14.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.65" - 2.15"

Coldest Month ?
46.8° F - 64.4° F

Hottest Month ?
73.7° F - 88.0° F

Humidity ?
3.97 vpd - 39.92 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy or decomposed granite soil

Soil Texture
Sand, Sandy Loam

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 25° F

Companion Plants
Desert Willow, California Fan Palm, Desert Lavender, Creosote Bush, Ocotillo, Jojoba, Blue Paloverde, White Bursage, Chuparosa, Barrel Cactus, Brittlebush, Indigo Bush, Apricot Mallow, Opuntia spp, numerous annual wildflowers

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds, insects

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Scarify or soak in tap water 12-24 hrs.

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
False Mesquite, Falsemesquite

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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