Actinotus.JPG (37946 bytes)Actinotus helianthi: is known as the Flannel Flower and is a member of the Apiaceae family (Umbelliferae is the old name of this family) in company with the celery, fennel and parsley.
The Flannel Flower is an erect perennial herb reaching a maximum height of 90 centimetres. The whole plant is woolly. The soft, grey-green leaves are divided.
The white flowers have a daisy-like appearance. They are five to eight centimetres in diameter. The soft flannel-like structures that surround the flower heads are bracts. Flowering occurs in spring and summer and plants usually carry many flower heads.
Actinotus helianthi is widespread in New South Wales and Queensland. Flannel Flowers usually grow in poor, sandy soil often with rocks protecting the roots from drying out. In cultivation the species prefers full sun, perfect drainage and pieces of rock placed strategically placed around the plants. We have abandoned trying to grow Flannel Flowers. They do not like the environment at Yallaroo and we just admire the plants when we encounter them in the wild. We will leave the cultivation of this handsome native plant
Actinotus helianthi is grown commercially as a cut flower. We also know of one case where a specimen was grown in a pot. This plant flowered profusely but only survived for a couple of years.
Mount Annan Botanic Garden, south of Sydney, has released a range of cultivars that are said to be more amenable to cultivation. They are known, collectively, as “Federation Stars” and were selected as the New South Wales floral emblem for the Centenary of Federation in 2001. We will leave the cultivation of these handsome cultivars to other people and concentrate on the hundreds of other native plants that are much easier to cultivate.
Propagation is from seed (that may take from 2 to 52 weeks to germinate) and cuttings that should not be kept to wet. The hairy foliage will rot in moist conditions.
The image is of a population, growing near Yallaroo that took 25 years to discover. See our Garden Diary.