These attractive Red Powder Puffs are a beautiful  asset to any Garden and are  virtual Magnets to both Butterflies and Sunbirds.

The  Central Axis leading up to the 16th Century Sunder Burj  of the Sunder Nursery, New Delhi. is lined with these gorgeous Scarlet Powder Puffs.

Initially I thought they were flowers of The Persian Silk Tree as the Sunder Nursery is modeled after 16th century Persian Gardens.

Sunder means Beautiful in Hindi/Urdu.

the shrub
Dwarf Powder Puff Shrub

The silky stamens tipped with pollen are fused together at the base giving the Inflorescence the attractive look resembling a Powder Puff.

The Powder Puff/ Fairy Duster / Red Tassle Flower ( English) or Calliandra Haematocephala ( Scientific Name) belongs to the Touch Me Not sub family Mimosaceae .

The extremely appropriate scientific name  of the Genus Calliandra means “beautiful stamens”  in Greek and the species Haematocephala translates to “blood-red head “.

The attractive buds of the Powder Puffs .in the picture below, resemble a cluster of red berries with the largest cluster carrying the  beautiful blood-red head formed by silken  stamens. 

mushroom like
Touch me Not, am not a Raspberry

The “Touch me Not” family Mimosaceae has a unique characteristic, the leaves fold up on certain external stimuli like touch or light. The delicate leaves of the Powder Puff Shrubs/Trees do  fold up with the Setting Sun as well.

The picture below reveals the three stages of the attractive Scarlet Powder Puffs ;  Berry like Buds , Scarlet Powder Puffs and Wilted Brown mops.

Unlike the first picture which was of a Shrub about 1.5 m ( 5 feet approx) high, the flowers below were on a large tree about 5 m ( 15 feet ) high.

I understand the smaller Shrubs are called Dwarf Powder Puffs( English) or Calliandra emarginata ( Scientific name).

bud flower and wilted
The life cycle and a wilted flower

The Pea like Fruit emerges from the Wilted flower like a Phoenix from  Ashes.

The fruit of the silken Powder Puffs  clearly reflect they belong to the large Pea Family Fabaceae of which the Touch- me- Nots , Mimosaceae are a sub family.

Once you are familiar with the characteristics of Families you will find it  relatively easier to identify flowers as well.

It is my attempt  therefore to highlight a unique aspect alongwith THE FAMILY of every flower in these blogs.

flower and fruit
The solitary Pea like Fruit of the Powder Puffs

I have learnt in the course of writing this blog that the Genus Calliandra or Beautiful Stamens have over 150 species. The majority  are native to Central and South America where they are much sought after by Hummingbirds.

A Pink Powder Puff native to Suriname in South America is called Calliandra surinamensis.

However a few species are Native to the Indian Sub Continent and Madagascar as well.

Do share your comments and pictures of these Enchanting Powder Puffs or Fairy Puffs that grow in your part of Planet Earth.



Published by

mukul chand

51 year old entrepreneur who has traveled extensively around the world for work and pleasure , is based in New Delhi, India. A passionate traveler born with a love for flora and fauna, is an active naturalist and amateur photographer. Here he shares his unique insight into Incredible India revealing its mysterious and exotic treasures. Writing from his heart he shares his experiences as he crisscrosses this vast and amazing land.

53 thoughts on “POWDER PUFF”

  1. These remind me of the mimosa tree in our backyard. Its delicate pink powder puffs peek out above the feathery leaves, attracting a multitude of butterflies and hummingbirds on warm summer afternoons. Nice memory as we await a blizzard!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is one of beautiful ones, last year I remember I wanted to plant this one, but I couldn’t find. Maybe this spring once again I want to search. Beautiful photographs. Thank you dear Mukul, love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Last summer I shared I think, we have lilac colour and also white colour one. I hope this winter didn’t damage them. We haven’t visited the village home in these days. I will share when they get blossoms. Love, nia

        Liked by 1 person

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