03 February 2011


I started planting this small tree or big shrub Calliandra tergemina var. emarginata, more well-known by its synonym Calliandra emarginata (synonym: Inga emarginata; common name: Powderpuff; Family: Fabaceae / Leguminosae) in the landscape many years ago because of its continuous proliferation of beautiful red stamineous flowers throughout the year and its light coloured new leaf flushes. I recall vividly that I planted this plant together with Wodyetia bifurcata, Ixora, Duranta etc outside the Bugis MRT.

The soil must have been quite poor because over time, all the plants species but one turned yellow, exhibiting symptoms of severe nutrient deficiencies. The ones that remain healthy green were the 2 Powderpuff plants amongst the landscape. It was quite a contrast actually. The root system of the 2 plants must have developed some symbiosis with the Rhizobia bacteria in their nodules and were able to fix nitrogen.

In recent years, I notice that they frequently suffer from a leaf miner problem and render the leaves unattractive. Some species of Calliandra are also found to be host plants for butterflies from the Pieridae Family and this species is the host plant for the butterfly Common Grass Yellow and Three Spot Grass Yellow.

Several links on the plant are attached below: