Actinotus minor

Lesser flannel flower

Family: Apiaceae

A spreading perennial wiry herb, erect to spreading horizontally, 15–50 cm high, with long slender stems.

It is a common plant growing in moist areas in heathland and dry sclerophyll forest on sandy soils, confined generally to the Greater Sydney area, from Ourimbah, south to Milton and Robertson (central and south coast subdivisions).

The leaves are grey-green in colour and divided. A term “partite” is applied where a structure is divided into distinct parts. The tissue of the leaves divides into 3, with each division having 3 distinct lobes or segments (3-partite); overall leaves are 2 cm long.

The flowers are arranged in umbels, a typical feature of the Apiaceae (Carrot / Fennel / Parsley family). The general flower structure resembles a daisy. Although these plants somewhat resemble a daisy, the flower arrangement is very different. The umbels are an umbrella-like arrangement of flowers where all flowers are set in a circular arrangement on a single peduncle. The umbels are to about 1.2 cm across and consist of up to 60 very small 5-petaled pink flowers (star-shaped) which can be male or female. The umbel is fringed by petal-like bracts, elliptic and about 7 mm long by 2 mm wide, with a flannel texture. Flowering occurs from January to May.

The hairy egg-shaped fruit segments (mericarps) are 2 to 3 mm long.

In the garden

Little cultivation details are known. However, it is known to be cultivated and there is online and hardcopy information available (see references below). Guidance could likely be taken by reviewing the profile for Actinotus forsythii where germination of seeds using smoked-water has been successfully undertaken by Lloyd Hedges at Menai Group.

This plant has been seen for sale at Sutherland Shire Council Nursery (and see references below).

Likely needs a fast draining sandy soil to do well. Can form a dainty groundcover in gardens – useful for rockeries. It could also be grown in a pot. Plant in full sun for best results.


No propagation details are known and assume the same as for Actinotus helianthi.

Other information

Regenerates from seed in large numbers after fire.

Actinotus is a genus of about 15 species, occuring only in Australia and New Zealand. NSW currently has 5 species.

Actinotus – referring to “rays“, “furnished with rays” and “radius” (Gk. aktino (ακτίνο) / aktinos (ακτίνος)).

minor – Latin for “lesser” – having much smaller flowers compared to the more well know famous flannel flower – Actinotus helianthi.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Actinotus minor profile page

Gardening with Angus – Actinotus minor profile page    https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/actinotus-minor-lesser-flannel-flower/

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.