Chestnut Herbal School

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

JULIET BLANKESPOOR is the founder, primary instructor, and Creative Director of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, an online school serving thousands of students from around the globe. She's a professional plant-human matchmaker and bonafide plant geek, with a degree in botany and over 30 years of experience teaching and writing about herbalism, medicine making, and organic herb cultivation. Juliet’s lifelong captivation with medicinal weeds and herb gardening has birthed many botanical enterprises over the decades, including an herbal nursery and a farm-to-apothecary herbal products business. 

These days, she channels her botanical obsession through her writing and photography in her online programs, on her personal blog Castanea, and in her new book, The Healing Garden: Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies. Juliet and her family reside in a home overrun with houseplants and books in Asheville, North Carolina.

Interested in becoming a contributor?

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