Fern Tree Cyathea cooperiLacy tree fern is native to eastern Australia but grows well in tropical and subtropical areas where winter temperatures are mild and rainfall is abundant. The common name, lacy tree fern, reflects the appearance of the fronds that are bright green and finely cut. Each frond is broad, about one to one and a half feet long, and consists of twelve to twenty four leaflets, two inches long. New fronds are called fiddle heads or crosiers, and are coiled and covered with silky hairs. Although the fronds may be hurt by frost the plant will recover and produce more. Clusters of spore bearing structures, sori are produced on the underside of each frond. The fronds are produced on the top of a non-woody trunk produced by underground stems called rhizomes and can grow as much as a foot/year eventually reaching forty feet or more. The trunk is marked by oval scars produced as the fronds fall off giving rise to the common name, scaly tree fern. A popular ornamental for both indoor and outdoor use, this tree fern has naturalized in Hawaii and is invasive in some areas.

Type: Tree fern

Outstanding Features: Fronds; stem, fiddle heads

Form: Upright; umbrella-shaped

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: None

Size: 20-45′ h x 12′ W

Light: Dappled shade, part sun, full shade

Soil: Humus rich, moist, well-drained

Care: Low maintenance

Hardiness: Zones 10-11

Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to Rhizoctonia or Tip Blight (Phyllosticta) if water settles on crown.

Propagation: Spores (very difficult)

Outstanding Selection: ‘Brentwood’ (more robust and possibly more disease resistant than species).

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By Karen