Chestnut Herbal School

Even Red Powder Puff Has Bad Hair Days

Red powder puff (Calliandra haematocephala, Fabaceae) in bloom. The showiness of this flower does not come from its petals, but instead from its male flower parts. The filaments are the stalks of the stamens (pollen bearing structures). In this flower they are doing double duty by also attracting pollinators. This genus has diminutive petals but many of the powder puff-type legume flowers in the tropics have lost their petals and only have showy stamens. I love the straightforward scientific name, which translates to "beautiful stamen redhead". 

And don't forget, even the most glorious of flowers still has bad hair days! 

Note: this piece was previously published in facebook (if the ephemeral ethers could be considered published). I apologize for the redundancy, and am banking on two facts:

1. You never read it then.  2. It is graduation week!!! so perhaps you will cut me some slack in not coming up with original material.

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