Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Actinotus helianthi

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan - October

Common name flannel flower
Scientific name Actinotus helianthi Labill.
Family  Apiaceae

Genus: From Greek, actinos, ray, spoke of wheel; refers to the spreading bracts.

Species: Similar to the species Helianthus.

Distribution A native of south-eastern Queensland and the coast and ranges of New South Wales, and is common in the National Parks around Sydney.
Native habitat Grows in coastal heath and scrub, open eucalypt forest on shallow sandy soils, often in exposed situations.
Description Small shrub-like annual or perennial with grey, felty foliage and soft, white flower heads often tipped with green.
Flowering/fruiting The main flowering period is in spring.

Location in Garden

You can see flannel flowers growing in our Lakeside beds, in the annual beds in front of the Connections Garden and in the Big Idea Garden.


This beautiful iconic plant with its felty flowers and foliage is a wonderful addition to any garden. It does best in well-drained soils in dappled shade or partial sun, but will tolerate full sun as long as the root system has protection provided by other plants, boulders or logs etc

If you have clay soils, don’t despair. You can still grow flannel flowers in raised beds, or they make excellent potted plants.

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan, has developed a range of flannel flowers called Federation Stars. This range includes Starbright and Parkes Star which are perfect for your garden or potted collection. We have also released Lucky Star which is a long-stemmed variety for the cut flower trade. Lucky Star will help to stop the bush-picking which is depleting the wild populations by providing a consistent, high quality product to the flower markets.


Actinotus helianthi1

Actinotus helianthi2