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 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.
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).
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.
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.