Fairy Duster

Calliandra eriophylla

Fairy Duster Wildflower

The fairy duster is a low, densely branched shrub 8 to 48 inches high. The leaves are formed by 2-to-4 pairs of 1/4-inch, oblong leaflets. It is a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae) which includes acacias and mimosas.


Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of southern California to southwestern New Mexico and northern Mexico.


Open hillsides, sandy desert washes and slopes below 5,000 feet.


Each light pink to orange puff contains many flowers and is up to 2 inches in diameter. The flowers are darker toward the center, from which the long stamens radiate. The fairy duster can bloom year round, but usually blooms February through May.

Fairy Duster

This thornless, perennial shrub provides food to many desert animals, birds and insects. Fairy dusters are also called:

  • Calliandra
  • False Mesquite
  • Mesquitilla
  • Hairy-leaved Calliandra

More Wildflowers

We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.

Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.

Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...

What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports

More Wildflowers


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