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The Flannel Flower is a herbaceous shrub growing up to 50 cm (18 in) high, sometimes higher. The creamy-white flowers occur in clusters, and the entire plant has a soft woolly feel due to the presence of soft white hairs, hence the name. Despite having a daisy-like appearance, the Flannel Flower is in fact a species of the Apiaceae family, the same family as the carrot, dill, celery and parsley. Flowering occurs in spring to early summer (September to December) and is followed by fluffy seeds in a globular head. The seeds are dispersed by wind. May also be profuse after bushfires. It is an iconic native plant, particularly in Sydney, and has been used in imagery and art since colonial times. It is also Australia’s symbol for Mental Health Awareness (see notes). The small beetle on this flower is a Castiarina sp. Jewel Beetle, and belongs to the family Buprestidae, one of the largest genera of beetles in Australia. They emerge during the spring and summer months to coordinate with the flowering of native plants. PS: Massive fires swept through Girraween two months later, in mid-February, 2019, and it will take years for some species to regenerate. This entire area was burnt to a cinder, and I can't help but feel sad for the wildlife that has been destroyed because of one careless human act.
Open forest and woodland, usually on sand or sandstone on the coast and mountains of New South Wales and southern Queensland. In this area, mostly granite soils, and this section of track was quite exposed with a sunny aspect, although on the lower side of a large granite slab, so water runoff keeps the undergrowth and leaf litter quite moist during dry periods. Spotted along the Mt. Norman track in Girraween National Park. Here's some park info - http://www.rymich.com/girraween/
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 been drawn to and admired, now has a very special meaning for me.
Spotted on Dec 6, 2018
Submitted on Dec 7, 2018
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