I’ve been visiting with my family in Sydney town and in one of those little miracles of life I have found a reserve that existed here in my childhood remains part of the landscape. Stony Range Flora Reserve has become Stony Range Botanic Garden and it is here I found the first flannel flowers of my visit.
The flannel flower is the floral emblem of New South Wales. In January 1901, six states joined together to form the Commonwealth of Australia. As part of the celebrations to mark the Centenary of Federation, each state and territory selected a floral emblem to use in special displays, bouquets and in plantings and New South Wales chose the flannel flower which is sometimes referred to as Federation Stars.
Although the flowers are daisy-like in appearance, flannel flowers are actually related to carrots, parsnips and celery.
An unusual feature of the flowers is their ‘flannel’ texture. The petals are actually modified leaves, usually called bracts. The true flowers form the centre of the flower.
I also spotted some large clumps of flannel flowers on a coastal walk around the headlands between Dee Why Beach and North Curl Curl Beach, they were thriving on the edge of the headland high above the ocean.