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Calliandra tergemina var. emarginata (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Barneby

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Abrus cruziana, Anneslia , Anneslia , Anneslia , Calliandra mexicana, Calliandra rivalis, Calliandra rupestris, Inga emarginata, Mimosa emarginata, Inga emarginata, Abrus Haole, Inga semicordata
Common Name: Red Powderpuff Plant, Miniature Powder-puff, Dwarf Powder Puff, Tarbardillo, Cat's Tail, Clavellino, 红粉扑花
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Bee Attracting Plants Bird-Attracting Butterfly Food Plant Caterpillar Food Plant Bonsai Interiorscape / Indoor Plant Ornamental Flowers Woody Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Woody), Tree (Shrubby (1m-5m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby, Open
Maximum Height 6 m


Native Distribution Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Colombia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Secondary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Leguminous, erect, woody shrub or small tree with graceful tiers of horizontal branches. Can be pruned and grown as bushy shrub.
Foliage Leaves compound, opposite, leaflets shaped like kidneys or lungs, light to medium green, with 3 leaflets (2 paired terminal ones, 1 lone and smaller) per petiole. Young leaves orangey, maturing to green. Leaflets and petiole somewhat velvety due to fine surface hairs. Leaves droop and fold up at night.
Flowers Globular Mimosa-like powderpuff inflorescence, 2.5 to 6 cm across, with numerous red or pinkish-red filamentous stamens, lasting 2-3 days before wilting. Unopened flowers buds resemble a bunch of red berries. Free-flowering, providing nectar for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies like Parthenos sylvia (Malaysian Blue Clipper).
Fruits Flattened dehiscent seedpods. ripening from green to brown, with thickened margin, before splitting open explosively from tip to base, twisting back in a double curve to eject seeds several meters away.
Others - Plant Morphology Similar:: Inflorescences resemble those of Calliandra haematocephala's, but latter species has 6-10 pairs of smaller leaflets instead.
Cultivation Provide well-watered, well-drained soils. Takes full sun to partial shade. Plant assumes sprawling and lower-growing form under full sun, but is more upright with more open crown under shade. Somewhat slow-growing, but withstands transplanting. If grown as bonsai, wire up younger branches to train them into desired shapes; plant may be temporarily potted in larger containers to encourage thickening of trunk and branches. Propagate by seeds (easier) or stem cuttings. Occasionally affected by white flies and scale insects.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Calliandra' derived from Greek for 'kalos' 'beautiful' and 'andros' 'stamen', a reference to the plant's conspicuous silky-red inflorescence stamens. Species epithet tergermina means 'three-paired' and refers to the 3 leaflets present on each leaf stalk. Variety epithet 'emarginata' means 'with a notched margin', describing how the mature terminal leaflets are cleft in the centre.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( Flowers are crushed and mixed with water to treat inflammation of the eye and ulcers of the skin. The leaf extract is prescribed for internal complaints.)
[Others]: Plant is a source of an effective tanning agent.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Bonsai, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Container Planting, General, Focal Plant
Thematic Landscaping Butterfly Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting, Caterpillar Food Plant, Butterfly Food Plant, Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee), Insects (Butterfly, Moth), Vertebrates (Bird))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Pruning Plant takes pruning well. Can be be trained as small standard tree, or as rounded bushy shrub.
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting
Propagation Method Remarks Easier to propagate by seeds. Seedlings flower within 2 years.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Orange
Foliar Type Compound (Trifoliate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Mature Bark Texture Scaly
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Pink, Red
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Time-Independent
Flower Lifespan on Plant [Remarks] (2-3 days)
Flower Lifespan on Plant - Remarks 2-3 days
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black, Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Legume / Pod

Image Repository



Master ID 1478
Species ID 2771
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.