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Sphaeropteris cooperi

Sphaeropteris cooperi
In Blandys Garden, Madeira
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Polypodiophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Cyatheales
Family: Cyatheaceae
Genus: Sphaeropteris
S. cooperi
Binomial name
Sphaeropteris cooperi
(Hook. ex F.Muell.) R.M.Tryon[1]
  • Alsophila australis var. cervicalis F.M.Bailey
  • Alsophila australis var. excelsa (Endl.) F.M.Bailey
  • Alsophila australis var. pallida Bailey
  • Cyathea cooperi (F.Muell.) Domin
  • Alsophila excelsa var. cooperi (Hook. ex F.Muell.) Domin
  • Alsophila hilliana F.Muell.
  • Cyathea australis var. cervicalis (F.M.Bailey) Domin
  • Cyathea australis var. pallida (Bailey) Domin
  • Cyathea brownii var. cooperi (Hook. ex F.Muell.) Domin
  • Alsophila cooperi F.Muell.

Sphaeropteris cooperi, synonym Cyathea cooperi,[2] also known as lacy tree fern, scaly tree fern, or Cooper's tree fern, is a tree fern native to Australia, in New South Wales and Queensland.


Sphaeropteris cooperi is a medium-to-large fast growing tree fern, 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).[3] It can also very rarely be found in the colour of a pale pink with an orange stripe going down the middle. This is extremely rare and can be worth about 2,000 dollars.[citation needed]


Sphaeropteris cooperi is one of the most commonly cultivated tree ferns as an ornamental plant. It is used in gardens and public landscaping. It is hardy and easy to grow. Heavy frosts may kill the fronds, but plants recover quickly. The plant prefers protected, shady moist conditions but can be grown in sunny areas. It does not do well in full sun and must be well watered. It does not grow in its optimal form in full sun.[3]

Under its synonym Cyathea cooperi it has received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[4]

It is sometimes mislabeled in the nursery industry as "Cyathea australis" (a synonym of Alsophila australis).


It has naturalised in Western Australia, South Australia, and parts of New South Wales where it is not native. It has also naturalized in New Zealand, South Africa, Tanzania, the Mascarene Islands, the Azores, Madeira and Hawaii, where it is classified as an invasive species.[3][5]



  1. ^ "Sphaeropteris cooperi (Hook. ex F.Muell.) R.M.Tryon". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2019-08-23.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b Hassler, Michael & Schmitt, Bernd (June 2019). "Sphaeropteris cooperi". Checklist of Ferns and Lycophytes of the World. Vol. 8. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  3. ^ a b c Large, Mark F. & Braggins, John E. (2004). Tree Ferns. Timber Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-88192-630-9.
  4. ^ "Cyathea cooperi". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  5. ^ "Sphaeropteris cooperi (F.Muell.) R.M.Tryon; Contr. Gray Herb. 200: 24 (1970)". Retrieved 2022-03-14.

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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Sphaeropteris cooperi
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