Australian tree fern Cyathea cooperi

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
Cooper's tree fern


Cyathea cooperi, commonly known as the Australian tree fern, is a species of plant that exhibits a distinctive and lush appearance. It is characterized by a thick, fibrous trunk, which gives it a tree-like form, covered with remnants of old leaf bases. This trunk supports an expansive canopy of large, arching fronds. These fronds can be deeply cut, resembling feathers, and are a vibrant shade of green that adds to the tropical look of the plant. The fronds unfurl from coiled, fuzzy brown structures, known as fiddleheads, which emerge from the top of the trunk. The overall look of the Australian tree fern is that of a graceful, green fountain of foliage, providing a dramatic visual impact that evokes the dense, green landscape of a rainforest environment. Notably, the texture of the plant is also quite remarkable, with the smooth, green fronds contrasting with the somewhat rough, brown texture of the trunk.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Australian Tree Fern, Cooper's Tree Fern, Lacy Tree Fern, Scaly Tree Fern

    • Common names

      Alsophila cooperi, Cyathea australis (misapplied), Cyathea medullaris (misapplied), Cyathea trerewrensis, Hemitelia brownii, Lophosoria brownii, Sphaeropteris cooperi.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Australian tree fern is not known to be toxic to humans. Ingesting parts of the plant does not result in poisoning or exhibit harmful symptoms typically associated with plant toxicity.

    • To pets

      The Australian tree fern is also not considered toxic to pets. It should not cause poisoning or produce symptoms of toxicity in animals if they happen to ingest parts of it. However, as with any non-food plant, ingestion of large amounts could potentially lead to gastrointestinal upset simply due to the introduction of non-digestible matter.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      10-15 feet (3-4.5 meters)

    • Spread

      6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Cyathea cooperi, commonly known as Australian tree fern, adds tropical beauty to landscapes with its lush green fronds and distinctive trunk.
    • Shade Provider: Its large fronds create a canopy that offers shaded areas, making it an excellent choice for gardeners looking to create a cool retreat.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Offers habitat and food for various wildlife species, including birds and insects, enhancing biodiversity.
    • Erosion Control: The root system stabilizes soil, which helps in the prevention of erosion, particularly in sloped areas.
    • Privacy Screen: Due to its height and foliage density, it can serve as a natural privacy screen in gardens and outdoor spaces.
    • Horticultural Interest: It's an attractive species for collectors and enthusiasts of ferns or exotic plants.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Cyathea cooperi, commonly known as the Australian tree fern, is often used as a theme plant in dinosaur or prehistoric-themed gardens due to its ancient lineage and primitive appearance, which helps in creating a naturalistic setting that simulates the times when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
    • The fibrous trunk of the Australian tree fern is sometimes used by orchid enthusiasts as a growing medium for orchid plants because it retains moisture and allows the roots to grip naturally.
    • It can be used in larger terrariums or indoor garden displays due to its lush foliage and the ability to thrive in humid environments with filtered light.
    • The fronds of the Australian tree fern are sometimes used in floral arrangements and decorative greenery in large-scale events or hotel lobbies, providing a tropical and exotic touch.
    • Cyathea cooperi can serve as a natural privacy screen in landscaping, growing tall enough to block unwanted views and, due to its dense foliage, providing a green backdrop to gardens.
    • In areas prone to erosion, the Australian tree fern can be planted to help stabilize the soil with its extensive root system while also adding a decorative element to the landscape.
    • Used in films and television to recreate jungle scenes, the Australian tree fern’s archetypal "ferny" appearance makes it a go-to plant for set designers.
    • It can provide shade for understory plants in tropical or subtropical gardens, due to its broad fronds spreading out to create a canopy-like effect.
    • The Australian tree fern is sometimes used in large planted aquariums or paludariums, with the foliage emerging above the water surface and roots submerged, adding vertical interest and complexity to aquatic setups.
    • In artistic installations and public sculptures, having the Australian tree fern featured can introduce a living element that changes with the seasons and contributes to the artwork’s organic aesthetics.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Australian tree fern is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Australian tree fern is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Australian Tree Fern: The Australian Tree Fern, or Cyathea cooperi, can symbolize resilience and adaptability due to its ability to thrive in a variety of environments. It's a fast-growing plant that can quickly adapt to changes in its surroundings.
    • Shade and Protection: As a large fern that provides ample shade in the understory of forests, the Australian Tree Fern can symbolize shelter and protection. Its broad canopy creates a micro-habitat for many other organisms.
    • Antiquity and Timelessness: Ferns are an ancient group of plants, and the Australian Tree Fern has a prehistoric appearance. Its symbolism here taps into the idea of something that has endured the test of time and evolution.
    • Growth and Expansion: With its capacity for reaching considerable heights and its fast growth, the Australian Tree Fern can symbolize personal growth or expansion of one’s consciousness.
    • Solitude: Often seen standing alone or in small clusters in its natural habitat, the Australian Tree Fern can be a symbol of solitude or independence.
    • Nurturing: Due to its role in the ecosystem as a provider of habitat and nourishment for other species, this fern can symbolize the nurturing aspect of nature or an individual’s character.

Every 3-5 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Australian tree fern should be watered deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering. Water the plant with about 1 gallon of water every week during the growing season, decreasing to every two to three weeks during cooler months. Ensure that the water penetrates deeply into the soil to encourage a strong root system without waterlogging the plant, as standing water can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    The Australian tree fern thrives in bright, indirect light or partial shade. It is best to place it in a location where it is shielded from the harsh afternoon sun, as strong direct sunlight can scorch the fronds. A spot with dappled light such as under the canopy of taller trees or a shaded patio is ideal for this plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Australian tree fern prefers a warm and humid environment, with ideal temperatures ranging between 65°F to 80°F. While it can survive in temperatures as low as 50°F, it should not be exposed to temperatures below this as it may damage the fronds. Avoid placing the fern in areas with cold drafts or significant temperature fluctuations.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Australian tree fern is necessary to remove old or damaged fronds and to maintain a tidy appearance. Prune sparingly, cutting back fronds in the spring when new growth begins. It is not required to prune often, only when necessary to remove the old growth or to shape the plant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Australian tree fern prefers a rich, well-drained potting mix with high organic content. A good soil recipe would be a blend of two parts peat moss or coconut coir, one part perlite or pumice, and one part compost or aged bark to promote drainage and aeration. The ideal soil pH for this fern is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 5.5 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    The Australian tree fern should be repotted every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate its growing roots. It's best to repot in spring before the new growth starts. As it matures and its trunk thickens, repotting frequency may decrease.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The Australian tree fern thrives in high humidity conditions, ideally between 60% to 80%. Ensure consistent high humidity for optimal growth and health of the plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light, maintain high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in shade, shelter from wind, keep soil moist.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of the Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) begins with the germination of spores, which are produced in large numbers under the fronds on structures called sori. The spores develop into a small, heart-shaped gametophyte (prothallus) which is bisexual, housing both male and female reproductive organs. The gametophyte produces sperm and eggs which, upon fertilization, give rise to a new sporophyte – the beginning of the fern's familiar tree-like form. As the young sporophyte grows, it develops a trunk-like stem called a rhizome, which elevates the fronds above the ground. Throughout the fern's life, fronds continue to unfurl from a crown at the top of the rhizome, and old fronds die off. The tree fern reaches maturity when it begins to reproduce, completing its life cycle by producing new spores beneath its fronds.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • The Australian tree fern, Cyathea cooperi, is typically propagated by spores, which are the most popular method due to the plant's lack of seeds or easily dividable crowns. To propagate by spores, one collects the spores from the underside of the mature fronds when they are ripe, usually during warmer months when the spore cases (sporangia) turn brown and crack open. These spores are then sown on the surface of a sterilized, humid, and well-drained growing medium such as a mixture of peat and sand or finely chopped tree fern fiber. It's important to maintain high humidity and a constant temperature range, ideally between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius), until germination occurs, which might take a few weeks to a couple of months. Once the sporelings develop true fronds, they can be transplanted into individual pots and grown on in similar conditions until they are large enough to withstand less controlled environments.

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