Calliandra eriophylla

Botanical Name

Calliandra eriophylla Bentham

Common Name(s)

  • fairy duster
  • false mesquite

Legume Clades

Native Geographic Range

  • Southwestern North America

IUCN Status

Growth Form


Cultivation Status in AZ



Tardily deciduous, many-stemmed shrubs to 3 1/2 ft (1 m) high with smooth, gray bark. Leaves are bipinnate with 1--4 pairs of pinnae per leaf, with 8--14 pairs of leaflets per pinna. Flowers with showy filaments ranging from dark pink to pale, whitish pink. Flowering in spring and occasionally in late summer/autumn.


Native to deserts and grassland habitats in the Southwestern U.S. and much of northern and central Mexico.


The plants are browsed by livestock and wildlife, and are useful in reducing erosion.


Fairy duster is widely planted as a small shrub. The showy flowers attract hummingbirds and insects. The plants do best with at least half a day of direct sun. Established plants are drought-tolerant but regular irrigation helps maintain appearance. Growth rate is moderate. Plants are hardy to 10° F (-12° C). Maintenance is minimal.