Flannel Flowers

Actinotus helianthi (Sydney Flannel Flower) and Actinotus minor (Lesser Flannel Flower) are two native (endemic) species that grow in coastal heath, scrub and open eucalypt forest on Sydney sandstone, along the coast of NSW and Qld.

The Flannel Flowers are putting on a gorgeous display around Sydney at the moment…But did you know?

Actinotus helianthi (Sydney Flannel Flower)

Actinotus minor (Lesser Flannel Flower)

Both species belong to the family Apiaceae and can be considered “siblings” as they belong to the same genus.

Actinotus is derived from the Greek word ‘aktin’ meaning ‘ray’ or “spokes of a wheel” and refers to the bracts (which look like petals) surrounding the flower heads.

Actinotus helianthi and Actinotus minor belong to the same family as the culinary plants, celery, parsley, carrot and coriander.


Actinotus helianthi (Sydney Flannel Flower)

The species name ‘helianthi’ refers to the sunflower genus Helianthus with its ‘rays of sunbeams’.

The common name ‘Flannel’ flowers is because the soft daisy-like flower bracts and foliage feel like flannel (a soft, woven fabric made of wool or cotton).

The flannel appearance is due to millions of trichomes or ‘hairs’ covering the plant, which reduce moisture loss in dry conditions.

Can you see the many tiny hairs on the picture?


Actinotus minor (Lesser Flannel Flower)

The species name ‘minor’ refers to the smaller size of this species.

Actinotus minor also has a flannel appearance due to millions of trichomes or ‘hairs’ covering the plant, which reduce moisture loss in dry conditions.

Can you see the many tiny hairs on the picture?

Did You know?

Actinotus helianthi was the first Australian flower to be featured on an Australian stamp.

The stamp was issued on the 8th of April 1959 and was designed by the pre-eminent Australian botanical illustrator Margaret Stones AM MBE (1920-2018).

Look out for our gorgeous Flannel Flowers when you next venture into Nature!

Dr Aniuzka & Dr Fiona


The Young Naturalist is the brainchild of two scientists, who have combined their passions for Nature and education with their scientific training in botany, taxonomy, microscopy, mycology, entomology, and biodiversity.

We deliver innovative and engaging Nature Education Workshops and participation in Citizen Science for children as school incursions, after-school programs, and vacation workshops, aligned with the Living World curriculum.

The Young Naturalist

The Young Naturalist is a social enterprise providing children’s science-based Nature education programs.





Connect with us



Dr Fiona H. L. Benyon

(+61) 423 052 692
youngnaturalist.au@gmail.com

Dr Aniuzka Kazandjian

(+61) 497 761 326
theyoungnaturalistau@gmail.com




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