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Fougère arborescente d'Australie (Sphaeropteris cooperi) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Agnès Iatzoura
Fougère arborescente d'Australie (Sphaeropteris cooperi) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Agnès Iatzoura

Australian tree fern

Native to Australia, this impressive tree fern can reach 15 metres tall. With its relative hardiness and its tendency to multiply easily, it is highly prized by landscape architecture enthusiasts.

Identity Card

Common name
Australian tree fern, Lacy tree fern, Scaly tree fern, Cooper’s tree fern
Binominal name
Sphaeropteris cooperi (Hook. ex F.v.Muell.)Tryon

Taxonomy

Kingdom
Plantae
Family
Cyatheaceae
Synonyms
Cyathea cooperi (F. Muell.) Domin

Detailed Informations

Area of origin
Eastern Australia

Etymology

Sphaeropteris comes from Latin ‘sphaera’: rounded and ‘pteris’ Latin term for ferns. Cooperi is a name given in honour of British botanist Thomas Cooper.

Description and flowering period

This fast-growing tree fern can reach 6 to 15 meters in height. The top of the stipe (trunk-like robust stem) as well as the unfurling crosiers are covered in long silky straw-coloured scales. The crown is widely spread and the light-green leaves (called fronds) can reach between 4 and 6 meter long. Ferns do not bear flowers and therefore have no seeds, they reproduce via spores. Those are contained in small bag-like structures called sporangia, themselves grouped in clusters called sori attached to the underside of leaves. This species’ spores are globular and naked.

Habitat

It requires a warm and wet climate. It has to be planted in full or part-shade in a sheltered location. The plant will lose its fronds in case of frosts but can recover from it.

Uses

Ornamental.

Notes

Easy to grow, it is one of the most commonly found tree ferns in garden centres and in landscaping. However, it can easily escape from cultivation in warmer climates: it has thus become invasive in Hawaii as well as the Réunion Island.

Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN