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Genus Cyathea Family Cyatheaceae

Description: Treeferns with an erect trunk, covered at the apex with whitish to dark red-brown scales.

Stipe of fronds yellowish to brown to dark red-brown or almost black, often bearing short, sharp spines; lamina broad-lanceolate, 2-pinnate or more compound, usually leathery, bearing small scales along the axes.

Sori with or without indusium.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: >600 species, chiefly tropical regions. Australia: 11 species, Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas., W.A.

Text by Peter G. Wilson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
KEY TO THE NSW MAINLAND SPECIES
1Scales on stipe base dark brown or brown with pale margins2
Scales on stipe base predominantly pale with dark spinules along the margins3
2Scales of trunk and stipe base shiny, red-brown, stiff and often twisted, 2–5 cm long, with inconspicuous pale fragile edgesCyathea australis
Scales of trunk and stipe base dull pale brown to dark brown, to 3.5 cm long, with a conspicuous pale margin
                       Back to 1
Cyathea cunninghamii
3Stipes dark brown to black, prickly, the bases persistent on the trunk; scales of stipe base very pale, to 6 cm long and 1 mm wideCyathea leichhardtiana
Stipes yellowish brown to brown, warty, the bases deciduous; scales of the stipe base of two kinds, pale and 2–5 cm long and 0.5–5 mm wide, and inconspicuous red-brown scales 0.5–1.5 cm long and to 0.5 mm wide
                       Back to 1
Cyathea cooperi
KEY TO THE LORD HOWE ISLAND SPECIES
1Pinnules in the central portion of the pinnae 7–14 cm long, with 16–20 opposite pairs, before they diminish markedly in size towards the long pointed apex2
Pinnules in central portion of pinnae 3–7 cm long, with 10–15 lamina segments, before dimishing in size towards the apex3
2Lower surface of costae and costules with small scattered bubble-like scales; pinnules deeply toothed with acute teeth deflexed around soriCyathea howeana
Lower surface of costae and costules without scales, prickly with the bases of earlier shed scales; pinnules more or less entire except where fertile; fertile pinnules deeply toothed, with rounded teeth around sori
                       Back to 1
Cyathea brevipinna
3Fertile pinnules deeply pinnatisect, the divisions in the centre of the pinnule joined basally along the costa by 0.5–1 mm of continuous lamina4
Fertile pinnules completely pinnatifid, the divisions in the centre of the pinnules not joined by any continuous lamina at their base
                       Back to 1
Cyathea robusta
4Stipe and primary rachis with a mixture of scales and crumpled hairs, but scarcely a felted indumentumCyathea australis
Stipe and primary rachis with a felted indumentum of crumpled hairs
                       Back to 3
Cyathea macarthurii

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