Australian Tree Fern Cyathea australis

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


The plant known as the rough tree fern, exhibits a striking appearance characterized by a thick, fibrous trunk topped by an elegant crown of arching fronds. The trunk, resembling the texture of hessian, is patterned with the scars of fallen leaves, providing a rugged aesthetic appeal. From the apex of this trunk, the fronds emerge in a lush, spreading canopy. These fronds are long and pinnate, resembling the delicate structure of a feather, with numerous small, green leaflets arrayed on either side of a central stem. The overall impression is that of a prehistoric and stately plant, with a deeply grooved, dark-colored trunk and vibrant green foliage that captures the essence of a primordial forest.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Rough Tree Fern, Southern Tree Fern, Black Tree Fern, Alsophila Australis

    • Common names

      Alsophila australis, Cyathea crinita, Cyathea dregei, Cyathea medullaris, Hemitelia australis, Alsophila crinita, Alsophila dregei, Cyathea brownii, Trichipteris australis.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Rough Tree Fern has no notable toxicity to humans. It is generally considered safe, and there are no widespread reports or concerns regarding poisoning from ingestion or contact with this plant.

    • To pets

      The Rough Tree Fern is not known to be toxic to pets. It should not cause any symptoms of poisoning or adverse health effects if ingested by pets such as cats and dogs. However, it is always prudent to prevent pets from ingesting plants, as individual animals might have specific sensitivities.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      20 feet (6 meters)

    • Spread

      12 feet (3.6 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Landscaping: Cyathea australis, commonly known as the Rough Tree Fern, provides aesthetic value to gardens with its lush, green foliage and distinctive tree-like form.
    • Habitat creation: It is a valuable plant for creating habitats for wildlife, offering shelter and breeding grounds for various bird species and insects.
    • Erosion control: The Rough Tree Fern's extensive root system stabilizes the soil, which helps to prevent erosion, particularly in sloped areas.
    • Shade production: The large fronds of this tree fern can provide ample shade in garden settings, creating cool microclimates beneficial for understory plants.
    • Cultural significance: It holds importance in the cultural practices of indigenous people, being used in traditional ceremonies and as a symbol in certain communities.

  • 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 australis, commonly known as the rough tree fern, has been used as a source of mulch as its fronds, once decayed, provide excellent ground cover and enrich the soil with nutrients.
    • The fibrous trunk of the rough tree fern is used in landscaping and garden design to create natural, textured borders or as an architectural feature in garden settings.
    • Fibers from the rough tree fern trunk have been traditionally used for potting orchids, as they provide a good structure for the roots to cling to and encourage growth.
    • The rough tree fern can be used as a natural bird feeder; its large fronds collect water and can hold birdseed, attracting various bird species to the garden.
    • They can provide natural shading in horticulture, protecting sensitive plants from intense sun when planted strategically.
    • Rough tree ferns act as a living trellis for climbing plants, offering support for vines and other climbers to grow upon.
    • The rough tree fern has been used in the craft industry, where its fronds can be weaved or used as a natural decorative element in floristry.
    • In larger landscapes, the rough tree fern can be planted to help control erosion on slopes due to its extensive root system that stabilizes the soil.
    • Young fronds, known as 'fiddleheads', have been used for culinary decorations, although they should not be consumed as some parts of the plant can be toxic.
    • Large fallen fronds from the rough tree fern can be used to create temporary shelters or used in outdoor survival training as roofing material for bushcraft shelters.

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

    • Resilience: The Cyathea australis, commonly known as the Rough Tree Fern, grows in challenging environments and adapts to changes, representing the ability to persist and endure.
    • Growth: As a fast-growing fern, it symbolizes personal or spiritual development and the capacity for rapid expansion.
    • Protection: With its lush fronds that create a canopy, the Rough Tree Fern can symbolize shelter and safety, providing protection to smaller plants and animals.
    • Eternal youth: Ferns, in general, are often associated with youthfulness and the Rough Tree Fern is no exception, as it maintains its greenery throughout the year.
    • Ancient wisdom: Being part of a plant group that dates back millions of years, it can also embody the wisdom of the ancient world and a connection to the past.

Every 3-7 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-4 years
Spring to Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Australian tree fern should be watered deeply and thoroughly, ensuring the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged. In general, this means providing the fern with about 1-2 gallons of water per week, depending on the climate and season. During hot and dry periods, the watering frequency should be increased to maintain the necessary moisture level. It's important that the entire root ball is watered, and excess water should be allowed to drain to prevent root rot. Reduce watering during the cooler months but do not let the soil dry out completely.

  • sunLight

    Australian tree fern thrives in bright, indirect light or partial shade. Ideal locations include east- or north-facing spots where the plant is shielded from harsh afternoon sunlight. Direct sun can scorch the fronds, while too much shade can inhibit growth. Therefore, finding a balance with dappled or filtered sunlight will support the healthiest growth for the Australian tree fern.

  • thermometerTemperature

    For the Australian tree fern, the ideal temperature range is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate minimum temperatures down to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but growth may slow down. The plant is not frost-tolerant, and exposure to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can damage the fronds. Maximizing the plant's health involves maintaining a consistently warm and humid environment.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Australian tree fern is primarily for aesthetic purposes and to remove dead or damaged fronds, which promotes a tidy appearance and encourages healthy growth. It is best to prune in the spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. Cut the fronds at the base, near the trunk, and avoid cutting any new, unfurling fronds. Prune as needed when you notice damaged fronds but do not over-prune as this can stress the plant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Australian tree fern prefers a soil mix consisting of equal parts peat, perlite, and pine bark with good drainage. Maintain a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Australian tree ferns should be repotted every 2 to 3 years to avoid becoming root-bound and to refresh the soil nutrients.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The Australian tree fern thrives in high humidity environments, ideally between 60% to 80% to mimic its natural rainforest habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light with high humidity for indoor Australian tree fern care.

    • Outdoor

      Shade or dappled sunlight, keep moist, and protect from strong winds for outdoor Australian tree ferns.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of the Rough tree fern (Cyathea australis) begins with spore dispersal, typically spread by wind, where they land in damp, shaded soil. Upon germination in favorable conditions, the spores develop into green, heart-shaped gametophytes, which are the sexual stage. These gametophytes produce both male and female gametes that, upon fertilization, form a zygote that will grow into a new sporophyte—the fern plant itself. The sporophyte emerges as a crozier, or fiddlehead, which unfurls into fronds as it matures. The fern continues to grow, producing more fronds from its crown, and eventually develops sporangia on the underside of its fronds when mature. These sporangia release spores, completing the life cycle of the Rough tree fern.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • The Australian tree fern (Cyathea australis) is typically propagated through spores. The best time to collect and sow spores is during the warmer months when humidity levels are high, as these conditions mimic the natural environment where the fern thrives. To propagate by spores, the mature spores are harvested from the underside of fronds when they are dark brown and fertile. The spores are then sown on the surface of a well-draining propagation media, such as a mixture of peat and perlite, which is kept moist and in a warm environment around 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). The propagation tray should be covered with a clear lid or plastic wrap to maintain humidity until germination occurs, which can take several weeks to a few months. Once the sporelings have developed their first true fronds, they can be carefully transplanted into individual pots.