Fairy duster, Mock Mesquite
Southeast California, most of Arizona, southwest New Mexico
Deserts and grassland; sandy or rocky locations, often along dry washes
Bipinnate. Each minor leaflet is about 1/4 inch in length
The five reddish petals of calliandra eriophylla flowers are small and inconspicuous, but form the center of a beautiful spherical cluster of pinkish white stamens, each up to an inch long. The plant is a low, evergreen shrub rather than a wildflower - up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide - with woody, densely branched stems and pinnate, fern-like leaves - similar, when not in bloom, to mesquite and acacia. The overlapping flower heads grow from short branched stems. Leaves are divided into (usually) 8 major leaflets, each subdivided into around a dozen pairs of small, closely-spaced, minor leaflets.