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Rare Pink Flannel Flowers in the Blue Mountains

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by Linda Moon (subscribe)
... a dreamer, freelance writer, naturopath, mother & former social work student based in the Blue Mountains. Continue the journey with me- Soul Home: https://www.instagram.com/the_soul_home/thewildemoon: https://www.instagram.com/thewildemoon/
Published February 26th 2021
Blue Mountains bushfire disaster has a pink lining
pink flannel flower, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, NSW
The pink flannel flower is wowing locals and tourists this summer

In what's been lauded as a once-in-a-lifetime event, a rare pink variety of Flannel Flower is blooming in the Blue Mountains.

White Flannel Flowers are common in the Blue Mountains National Park. However, according to Australian Geographic, the pink version (Actinotus forsythii), is so rare that few of us have ever seen them.

It's believed the recent bushfires are behind the rare blossoming. The seeds lie dormant for years and germinate in summer in response to bushfire smoke and generous rainfall, such as we've seen recently.

Such plants are known as 'bushfire ephemerals'.

pink flannel flower, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, NSW
Gorgeous revival in the burnt bush drifts of Pink Flannel Flowers.

News and images of the rare species has spread like wildfire over social media. The blooms were even the subject of a Sydney Morning Herald news story (February 15, 2021).

Flannel flowers, Actinotus helianthi are so-named for their soft downy petals. The plants favour sandstone heathland and shallow soils over sandstone ledges.

The pink version, also known as the Ridge Flannel Flower has smaller petals than its showier white cousin with a diameter of about 20mm.

pink flannel flower, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, NSW
Close up of the Pink Flannel Flower which belongs surprisingly, to the carrot family.

Where to see the pink flannels

The flowers are currently abloom in charred bush burned by the fires from Katoomba to Lithgow and Newnes. Katoomba, the epicentre and main tourist town of the Blue Mountains lies about 100 kilometres from Sydney.

According to reported sightings, the Flannel Flowers are blooming in the following places:

Narrowneck, Katoomba near the Golden Stairs lookout. For detailed instructions on how to get to Narrowneck Trail, see the National Parks website here.

Go towards the end of Katoomba Street, and throw a right into Katoomba Falls Road, turn into Cliff Drive and pass Scenic World. After that, look for a dirt track with a sign on it that says Narrowneck. Drive up here (be careful, the roads a bit chunky and pot-holed) until you see the small signs (see last picture in this article).

Gooch's Crater near the Gardens of Stone National Park at Newnes, three hours from Sydney.

TIP

The flowers, which started blooming late last year, are expected to last a few months so until about March, so don't leave it too long to check them out.

While you're up, why not make a day of it. There's a great bush trail at Narrowneck for mountain biking, lots of bush walks around Narrowneck and in the town, plenty of cafes, restaurants and The Carrington Lounge for a relaxing drink.

If you don't make it this year, don't worry. With bushfires and controlled burning more common in the region, chances are the Pink Flannel Flower will return soon.

If you do see them, say good aye to the pinkies for me! Enjoy!

pink flannel flower, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, NSW
Look for the signs along the dirt road of Narrowneck, Katoomba
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Why? Once in a lifetime floral event
When: December-March
Where: Narrowneck, Katoomba, and other locations in the Blue Mountains
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Very pretty, Linda, and how lucky to be able to see them ...
by Elaine (score: 3|8015) 51 days ago
Looks beautiful!
by Joy (score: 3|1928) 50 days ago
What beautiful wildflowers to find on a walk
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|2478) 50 days ago
The white Flannel Flower grows in the Garigal National Park near my suburb.
Sometimes seen on the side of main thoroughfares on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

My favourite NSW (Australian) native flora.
by Gloria (score: 2|456) 49 days ago
The flannel flowers are beautiful to but how lucky to see the pink ones. I wish I was there just to see them. But its good to be able to see these pictures. I am a botanical artist and would love to paint them. Sonia Bennett.
by sonia (score: 1|68) 47 days ago
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