Our mystery seeds from last week were from a pink fairy duster, Calliandra eriophylla.
Most of the year it is a small, delicate shrub, nothing to write home about.
When it “flowers” though, it is covered with showy pink fluffs. Each of those pink fibers is actually a long stamen or the male part of the flower.
The flowers produce seeds in pods. Technically they are called dehiscent pods, which means they shoot the seeds out explosively when they are mature.
You can grow new plants from the seeds, but only if you can find them.
One benefit of fairy dusters is that they lack the thorns, spines or prickles found on so many plants in the Southwest.
The flowers are also attractive to bees and butterflies.
Many people also grow their larger relative, the Baja fairy duster, Calliandra californica, which has large red flowers.
Do fairy dusters grow where you live?