Flannel flower

By June 11, 2022 No Comments

A tattoo

It all started with a tattoo I saw on a young summer helper’s arm. You don’t often see flowers on young men’s arms so I asked a few questions, like any other plant geek. The flower in question was the Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi). The genus Actinotus means “furnished with rays”.

Why put it on your arm? What’s so special about it? I did some research on Google to find out because the dude is no longer employed with us and I don’t recall what exactly made him choose the Flannel flower. I just remember that his father was from Australia and when they visited the country, the dude must have noticed the flowers around Sydney.

The Flannel flower is a symbol of purity used in festivals and religious ceremonies.

It’s also adaptable and enduring which is why it’s able to survive in the bushland around Sydney.

The daisy-shaped flower is also beautiful and strong which is why it’s Australia’s national symbol for the promotion of mental health awareness. The dude’s tattoo was OK but I didn’t see the beauty until I saw pictures on Pinterest. Now I understand.

Botanical notes

The Flannel flower is actually very interesting because its stems, flowers and leaves are all grey in colour; and they’re all covered in soft downy hairs. Thus the flannel name.

We know that hairs are an adaptation for avoiding water loss. That’s why the flower can survive in the bushland; and why it’s a good plant for a rock garden.

The flowers appear in spring; you can grow them from seed or cuttings and plant them in well-drained, sunny locations.

Plant lust

I think every plant on Earth is interesting and the Flannel flower definitely fits. I’m glad I asked my co-worker about his tattoo because it inspired this blog post. If you ever find yourself in Sydney, you will be ready to explore thanks to my blog post.

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