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Flannel Flower

Actinotus helianthi


We are never too old to learn, and I've learned a couple of things about this flower. Although it looks like some sort of daisy, it actually belongs to the same family as the carrot. Go figure. The other is that it's Australia’s symbol for Mental Health Awareness (See notes. It's quite touching). Flannel flowers grow in sandstone heathland in coastal New South Wales and Queensland, and are commonly seen around the Sydney basin in spring. It's an iconic Sydney plant and has been used in imagery and art since colonial times. As the name implies, it does look and feel like flannel.


Found along the Box Head Track in Bouddi National Park on the NSW Central Coast. The park has mixed vegetation, but this area was mostly windswept heathlands. Coastal, so very salty air, dry with sandy soil, and all-day expose to the sun. Flowering occurs in spring and may be profuse after bushfires. Here's some park info: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/nation...


Quoting directly from Mental Health Australia's website: "The Flannel Flower, an Australian native, has been chosen as the national symbol to promote mental health awareness in Australia. The Australian bush has an inherent beauty and strength. It is also known for its extremes of weather and landscape. Varieties of the Flannel Flower are commonly found growing wild in the bush throughout Australia. The Flannel Flower, as with all native Australian plants, needs to be adaptable and enduring in order to survive. In the same way all of us, regardless of our life circumstances, develop resilience and the ability to adapt to change, in order to maintain good mental health. Being open and empathetic to a person’s expression of distress can assist in the recovery of a person living with mental illness and change the negative attitudes of our society as a whole." I myself am an epileptic, so this flower which I have always liked and admired, now has added meaning and relevance to me.

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Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Gosford, NSW, Australia

Lat: -33.54, Long: 151.35

Spotted on Oct 6, 2014
Submitted on Nov 22, 2014

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