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Flannel Flowers – More then just Pretty

A beautiful symbol for Mental Health Awareness

Flannel Flower by Maryse Jansen
Flannel Flower

A small chance to spot the beautiful Flannel Flower

During my holiday here in New South Wales, I would love to see some Flannel Flowers. They are native to the Sydney area and even though they have spread as far north as south-east Queensland, I have never seen them before. They certainly are said to be much more prolific in their home territory, especially in spring! And that’s the thing … right now it’s autumn! So it’s not exactly the perfect season to spot them, and therefore I’m not really keeping my hopes up too high.

Why do I want to see these particular flowers? Something about their soft, white, velvety appearance is really appealing. Not just to me, but apparently to a lot of people as I have seen so many images of these flowers by other photographers and nature lovers. They really are quite beautiful!

A Symbol for Mental Health

And on top of that, this flower is also the National Symbol of Australia to promote mental health awareness! The Flannel Flower is quite vulnerable so it has had to develop powerful adaptations to be able to survive in the Australian landscape. Despite it’s delicate appearance it is a very hardy plant that is able to thrive in challenging circumstances. It’s a beautiful symbol for mental health awareness! We too, need to be adaptable to the changes that we encounter in our lives to be able to keep our mental health in a good state!

I think there is more to it though then just its resilience. I notice also that engaging with its alluring appearance puts one in a certain mood. The pure, soft, white flower invites us into a soft, calm, tranquil mood and therefore contributes positively to our state of mental health just by its presence.

No wonder this flower is also popular in home and garden and often offered in flower arrangements , especially at weddings. Remember though, to never pick wildflowers as this is not permitted to ensure their protection and survival!

Read more posts that talk about mental health!

Tiny hairs on the flowers conserve moisture

Suddenly my eye catches a small shrub on the sandy soil in the forest, partly shaded by magnificent Gum Trees. It reaches as high as just below knee level and sports green-grey leaves with a silvery shine due to the fine hairs that cover them. They have interesting shapes that remind me a bit of corals! One wilted flower, one flower bud and two blooming Flannel Flowers adorn the plant! Bingo! Time to grab my camera!

Those hairs signify one of the important adaptations of this plant because they help conserve moisture and the ability to deal with harsh sunlight. The shape of the flowers is a bit similar to that of a Daisy, and – like with Daisies – what looks to us like one flower is actually a cluster of tiny flowers, surrounded by so-called ‘bracts’ that look like petals. Take a close look at the image and you can see it!

Usually there are 9 or 10 of these bracts, and they are white with a small greenish tip, also covered in those tiny, velvety hairs.

Flannel Flower Close Up by Maryse Jansen
Flannel Flower Close Up

An interesting family

Interestingly, this plant is not part of the Daisy family (Asteraceae) but instead it belongs to the Apiaceae family, which contains well known plants such as carrot, celery and parsley as well as coriander, cumin, dill, fennel and parsnip!! Is it edible then, you might wonder? I don’t think so as I haven’t been able to find any information on that. What I did find was that Flannel Flower extract gets used in skin care products. Apparently it helps to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin and it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Read about other interesting Australian Wildflowers!

Join me on a beautiful walk in the bush and spot the Flannel Flowers and much more in the latest episode of ‘Come for a walk in the Australian Bush’:

If you are interested in purchasing the featured image ‘Flannel Flower’ or would like to see what it looks like on the various products, please head to my shop. Check out other images of Australia’s beautiful wildflowers in my Flowers Gallery.

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