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‹ Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey

Electric Calliandra

April 14, 2020
Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey
Electric Calliandra

Dear listeners, this is a Re-Petey from a couple years ago. I have not been roaring to Tucson and back as reported in this show, but Ms. Mesquitey and I have been isolating ourselves at home during these unsettling times. We do, however, take at least one day a week and get out to explore. It’s not hard to be alone in the borderlands of rural Cochise County Arizona and everyday I remind myself how lucky I am. Oh, and I can get into some stands of Calliandra on rocky slopes near us. Yahoo!

Calliandra is a beautiful plant name and I like the way a genus name can sometimes become the common name as well. I wonder how many women in the southwest were named Calliandra by their botanists or native plant geek parents?  Fairy duster is a pretty nice common name too and this species is sometimes called false mesquite or mesquitilla. You pick.

I mention how the abundance of seed must be good feed for small mammals and birds, but neglected to say that the stems and leaves are browsed by larger critters like deer or bighorn sheep. There is a funny line in Arizona Flora that says it is “a straggling shrub,” but there is no mention of the showy flowers. I guess we don’t need a flora to tell us that.

The photos are mine. That’s the base of a sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri) in one shot and then a close up of the electric blooms. I think that’s the 220-volt model. I’m lucky I didn’t get shocked!

Calliandra eriophylla,   Fabaceae,   fairy duster,   Growing Native,   Petey Mesquitey,  


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