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An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. 178 Photo by Andrew Maltman
  2. 178_0 Flowering by John Tann
  3. 178_1 No flowering by John Tann
  4. 178_2 Photo by Laurie Wilson

Flannel Flower

Actinotus helianthi

Appearance

  • A herbaceous shrub.
  • Size: usually 30 – 90 cm high, but can reach up to 1.5 m.
  • Leaves: pale grey or grey-green, they are covered in soft white hairs giving them a velvety texture. They are arranged alternatively on either side of the stem, with each leaf being up to 50 mm long and made up of straight or oblong segments which are 15 – 30 mm long. The leafstalk is 8 – 50 mm long.
  • Flowers: daisy shaped, white to cream with green tipped bracts (“petals”) and velvety in texture. The flower heads are 2.5 – 8 cm in diameter and consist of many umbels that are 12 – 22 mm in diameter each. The flower head is surrounded by 10 – 18 bracts (“petals”) that are 2 – 4 cm long and the flower stalk is up to 8 cm long.
  • Fruit/seed: fluffy seeds in an egg-shaped head that is 3 – 5 mm long and 2 – 3 mm wide. They are covered with long silky hairs and are dispersed by wind.

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower
  • Full flowering (record all days)
  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
  • Open seed pods (record all days)

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect plants to start shooting and flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them. Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?".

When To Look

  • From spring through summer
  • Flowers appear from September to December, but can be year-round
  • Seeds appear after flowers

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout throughout the year!

Where To Look

  • In a wide range of habitats including coastal heath, scrub, open forest and dry woodland. It is usually found on sand or sandstone, and often in exposed locations.
  • It is naturally found on the coast and mountains from central and south-eastern Queensland down to the south coast and western slopes of New South Wales.

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions!

Flannel Flower Occurrence Map ALA

References

Walther G, Post E, Convey P, Menzel A, Parmesan C, Beebee TJC, Fromentin J, Hoegh-Guldberg O, and Bairlein F 2002. Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416: 389–395.

Morley BD & Toelken HR (eds) 1983. Flowering Plants of Australia. Rigby, Adelaide.

  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    Lesser Flannel Flower (Actinotus minor): a much smaller plant that is 15 – 50 cm high, with leaves 6 – 8 mm long and flower heads 1.5 cm in diameter.

  1. Did You Know?

    Its genus name Actinotus means with rays, referring to the shape of the bracts around the flower head; and its species name helianthi means Helianthus-like, referring to the Sunflower genus.

    It was called the Flannel Flower due to the soft velvety feel of the plant.

    It is in the same family as carrots.

    It is endemic to Australia.