Common name: Grey Cottonhead


Conostylis candicans or Grey Cottonhead. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Conostylis - from Greek, conos; a cone and stylos; a column, referring to the conical base to the style of the flower.

candicans - shiny white, presumably a reference to the grey, hairy foliage.


With striking grey foliage and vibrant yellow flowers, Conostylis candicans, or Grey Cottonhead, is a relative to the Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos) and is a compact plant with strappy leaves. Its flowers, which appear in winter through to early summer, grow in clusters on long thin stems.

Unlike most Australian native plants, the Grey Cottonhead thrives in salty, windy coastal environments. It is a hardy plant which, once established, can withstand periods of drought (although the flowering will suffer), but is not well suited to tropical climates. This perennial herb looks particularly effective when planted as a border, or en masse to create a grassland appearance.

Horticultural tips

  • The Grey Cottonhead is best planted in the cooler autumn and winter months in a full sun outlook. It is also suited to growing in pots.
  • Plant in free draining soil, applying a slow release fertiliser blend at the time of planting.
  • Once the flowers are spent, they can be removed along with any dying foliage to allow the plant to keep its vigour.
  • This plant is hardy but can be attacked by mealy bugs.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park to see the Grey Cottonhead at many locations, including the garden beds at the entrance to the Western Australian Botanic Garden and opposite Aspects of Kings Park gift shop (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

Conostylis candicans bushy appearance. Photo: D. Blumer. Conostylis candicans in garden beds near Aspects of Kings Park. Photo: D. Blumer.

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