Saturday, July 6, 2013

Calliandra emarginata_Dwarf Red Powder Puff

This is my 100th post and features the outstanding Calliandra emarginata (Dwarf Red Powder Puff). 

This medium-sized shrub has a dwarf growth habit compared with other species in the family. It can  be easily shaped and pruned, to a manageable size. I trained mine to a height of about 8 feet. It never stops flowering, thus is a must where splashes of red is needed in the garden.

The showiest parts of the flowers are the long, colorful stamens with the distinct pollen at its tips. The name Calliandra comes from the Greek for 'beautiful stamens'. These brilliant red flowers bear a resemblance to exploding fireworks but the texture is more towards a "powder puff" feel. 

These spectacular blooms offer a nice foil to the verdant green foliage. The kidney shaped leaves appear in pairs.

It blooms year round so the plant is always covered with vivid red blooms.

The globular flowers are about to 2 to 3 inches across and appear on short stalks along the branches.

The globular cluster of flower buds appear like raspberries.

The new and the old - a cluster of flower buds and a spent flower with the frazzled filaments.

Seed pods are bean-like. Propagation is very easy from seeds, with seedlings all over in the vicinity. Cuttings are also possible, but not worth the trouble

The flowers are bee and butterfly magnets, their nectar attracting many winged critters. Young leaves are copper in colour and turn light green over time.

A female worker honeybee (Apis mellifera) was seen here collecting nectar.

It goes from behind the flower towards the base of the filaments.

Bees here are buzily foraging for food, happily obivious of my presence.


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