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Family Fabaceae
/ Mimosaceae
Red powder puff
Calliandra haematocephala Hassk.

Mei rui hua

Scientific names Common names
Anneslia haematocephala (Hassk.) Britton et P. Wilson Blood red tassel flower (Engl.)
Calliandra haematocephala Hassk. Red powder puff (Eng.)
Calliandra inequilatera Rusby. Rose Cascade (Engl.)
Calliandra novaesii Hoehne  
Feuileea haematocephala Kuntze  
Calliandra haematocephala Hassk. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Mei rui hua.
FRENCH: Pompon.
SPANISH: Bellota, Flor de la cruz.

Calliandra haematocephala is a spreading well-branched shrub or small tree, growing to a height of 1 to 3 meters. Branches are brown, cylindric, and rough. Leaves are pinnately compound, oblong, acute, with 5 to 10 pairs of glossy green leaflets. Flowers are clustered in globose heads, up to 7 centimeters across. Stamens are numerous, long and silky, very brilliant, pink to red. Fruit is a dehiscent pod, dull brown, linear -oblanceolate, 6 to 11 centimeters long, 5 to 13 millimeters wide, opening along the sutures when ripe. Seeds are 5 to 6, brown and oblong.

- Ornamental cultivation; grown in gardens and parks.
- Native to tropical America.

- Fractionation of EtOAC extract of bark yielded p-hydroxybenzoic acid, caffeic acid, protocatechuic acid, astilbin, neo-isoastilbin, and catechin-3-O-rhamnoiside. (See study below)
- A non-active fraction yielded lupeol and betulinic acid.

- Condensed tannins from leaf were prodelphinidins, mainly of (epi)gallocatechin and (epi)gallocatechin-3-O-gallate units. Condensed tannins from wigs and stem bark were predominantly of procyanidins, with catechins, epicatechin, and (epi)catechin-3-O-gallate as main constituents. (see study below) (9)

- Studies with other species of the genus showed various pharmacological properties: anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, immunomodulatory, and antiulcerogenic.

• No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• In Nigeria, roots used in the treatment of hemorrhoids. (7)
• Elsewhere, decoction of the flowers used as blood purifier and tonic.

Antioxidant / Flavonol Glycosides / Cytotoxicity: Study isolated three new acylated quercetin rhamnosides from the leaves and stems – quercitrin 2"-O-caffeate, quercitrin 3"-O-gallate and quercitrin 2",3"-di-O-gallate – with 17 known compounds. Six compounds exhibited moderate to strong radical scavenging properties. Compounds 7 and 8 (myricitrin and quercitrin) exhibited lethal effect towards brine shrimp Artemia salina. (1)
Gastroprotective: Study of butanolic extract for gastroprotective effects in acute gastric lesions induced by acidified alcohol showed a gastroprotective effect with moderate control of gastric lesions and inhibition of hemorrhage and necrotic aspects of tissue injury. (5)
Antibacterial: Study evaluated ethanolic extractable constituents of bark of C. haematocephala against selected bacteria. Results showed varied antibacterial activity. Fractionation yielded known compounds which showed varied antibacterial activity. (6)
Condensed Tannins / Antioxidants: Condensed tannins isolated from bark, stems, and leaves of Calliandra haematocephala were evaluated for in vitro antioxidant activities using ABTS+ and FRAP methods. All the condensed tannins exhibited stronger antioxidant activities than synthetic antioxidant BHA. Activity was related to the number of hydroxyl groups on the B-ring and level of 3-O-galloylation. (see constituents above) (9)
Anti-Rotaviral / Leaves: Study evaluated the antiviral activity of various extracts from Calliandra haematocephala leaves against rotavirus (RS) infection in-vitro. All extracts of CH at non-cytotoxic concentrations exhibited anti-RV activities with the methanol extract showing strongest activity. In vivo oral administration of the ME significantly reduced mortality, virus titers, duration, and severity of diarrhea, as well as alleviation of RV-related small intestinal lesions. (10)
Silver Nanoparticles / Leaves: Study reports on the synthesis of silver nanoparticles using Calliandra haematocephala leaf extract. Study showed antibacterial activity against E. coli and the capacity to detect hydrogen peroxide suggesting potential applications in the development of new antibacterial drugs and new biosensors. (11)


Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Updated March 2016

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: /Red Powder Puff Buds/ Metallic-winged Sunbird Male / 1/250 sec., f/5.6, ISO 800 / ©- Ely Teehankee / Click on Image to go to source page / BirdPhotoPh
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: /Flower Closup / Red Powder Puff Buds / Click on Image to go to source page /Gardino Nursery Corp

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antioxidant galloylated flavonol glycosides from Calliandra haematocephala / F A Moharran et al / Natural Product Research, Vol 20, Issue 10 August 2006 , pages 927 - 934 / DOI: 10.1080/14786410500378494
Characterization and Standardization of Some Traditional Plant Drug / Sageer Ahmad Khan /
Calliandra haematocephala Hassk. / Chinese names & synonyms / Catalogue of Life, China
Calliandra haematocephala / PIER
Evaluation of the gastroprotective activity of Calliandra haematocephala extracts
/ A de Paula Barbosa, B Pereira da Silva, JP Parente / Planta Med 2012; 78 - PI448 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1321135
ANTIBACTERIAL CONSTITUENTS OF CALLIANDRA HAEMATOCEPHALA / R Nia, SA Adesanya, IN Okeke, HC Illoh, SJ Adesina / Nigerian Journal of Natural Products and Medicine , Vol 3 (1999), pp 58-60.
Ethnobotanical Survey of Plants Used in the Treatment of Haemorrhoids in South-Western Nigeria / Mike O. Soladoye, Michael O. Adetayo, Emmanuel C. Chukwuma and Amusa N. Adetunj / J.Adv.Dev.Res. Volume 2, No.1, June 2011
Calliandra haematocephala Hassk. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Comparison of Chemical Compositions and Antioxidant Activities of Condensed Tannins From Different Parts of Calliandra haematocephala / Shudong Wei, Hui Chen* & Yiming Lin / Journal of Wood Chemistry and Technology, Volume 35, Issue 3, 2015 / DOI:10.1080/02773813.2014.919596
Anti-Rotaviral Effects of Calliandra haematocephala Leaf Extracts In-vitro and In-vivo / Mohamed Shaheen*, Samy Mostafa, and Nagwa El-Esnawy / J Virol Antivir Res 4:1. doi:10.4172/2324-8955.1000137
Green biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using Calliandra haematocephala leaf extract, their antibacterial activity and hydrogen peroxide sensing capability / Selvaraj Raja, Vinayagam Ramesh, Varadavenkatesan Thivaharan / Arabian Journal of Chemistry / doi:10.1016/j.arabjc.2015.06.023

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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