Even Red Powder Puff Has Bad Hair Days
Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor
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.
Meet The Green Mastermind Behind Blog Castanea
JULIET BLANKESPOOR founded the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in 2007 and serves as the school’s primary instructor and Creative Director. She's been a professional plant-human matchmaker for close to three decades. Juliet caught the plant bug when she was nineteen and went on to earn a degree in Botany. She's owned just about every type of herbal business you can imagine: an herbal nursery, a medicinal products business, a clinical practice, and now, an herbal school.
These days, she channels her botanical obsession with her writing and photography in her online programs and here on her personal blog, Castanea. She's writing her first book: Cultivating Medicinal Herbs: Grow, Harvest, and Prepare Handcrafted Remedies from Your Home Garden. Juliet and her houseplants share a home with her family and herb books in Asheville, North Carolina.
Learn more about cultivation, identification, and uses for medicinal herbs in our 1,000-hour Herbal Immersion Program, which is the most comprehensive handcrafted online herbal course out there.