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Cyathea cooperi
C. cooperi in Blendys Garden, Madeira
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Cyatheales
Family: Cyatheaceae
Genus: Cyathea
Subgenus: Sphaeropteris
Section: Sphaeropteris
Species: C. cooperi
Binomial name
Cyathea cooperi
(W. J. Hooker ex F. von Mueller) Domin, 1929
  • Alsophila cooperi W. J. Hooker ex F. von Mueller, 1866
  • Sphaeropteris cooperi (W. J. Hooker ex F. von Mueller) Tryon, 1970

Cyathea cooperi, also known as the Australian tree fern, lacy tree fern, scaly tree fern, or Cooper’s tree fern, is a medium-to-large, fast growing tree fern native to Australia. This fern grows to 15 metres (49 ft) in height with a 12-inch (30 cm) thick trunk. The apex of the trunk and unfurling crosiers are particularly attractive, covered as they are with conspicuous long, silky, straw colored scales. The crown is widely spread and the light green fronds may reach a length of 4–6 metres (13–20 ft).


This is one of the most commonly grown tree ferns used in gardens and commercial landscaping. It is hardy and easy to grow. Heavy frosts may kill the fronds, but plants recover quickly. They prefer protected, shady moist conditions but can be grown in sunny areas. It does not do well in full sun and must be well watered.

Native to New South Wales and Queensland, it has naturalised in Western Australia, South Australia, and parts of New South Wales where it is not native. It has also naturalized in Hawaii and has become a problem there as an aggressive invasive species.

Sometimes mislabeled in the nursery indstry as C. australis.


Further reading

  • Notes on the Status of an Invasive Australian Tree Fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian Rain Forests. A. C. Medeiros, L. L. Loope, T. Flynn, S. J. Anderson, L. W. Cuddihy, K. A. Wilson. American Fern Journal, Vol. 82, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1992), pp. 27-33. doi:10.2307/1547758


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