Pronunciation: (ak-tin-oh-tas)
Family: Flannel Flower, APIACEAE

The pale, furry Flannel Flower, Actinotus helianthi, has become a popular perennial in gardens of Australian native plants and is grown in other warm, dryish places such as southern California. It can also be used in cold-winter areas if treated as an annual.

A sparse, erect-growing plant to 50cm/18in, it bears much-divided foliage of soft greyish-green. In spring and summer, furry flowering stems appear, topped by one or more star-shaped inflorescences up to 10cm/4in wide.

These consist of a mass of pink-stamened, greenish florets, surrounded by green-tipped, flannel-textured bracts of dull white. They prefer full sun, good drainage and minimum disturbance. Plant Actinotus in sandy, acid soil with a little humus and gravel. Its needs are minimal once established.

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