Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Cyathea cooperi
(Hook. ex F. Muell.) Domin, Cyatheaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 8 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Sphaeropteris cooperi (Hook. ex F. Muell.) R. M.Tryon

Common name(s): [more details]

English: Australian tree fern, Cooper's cyathea, highland lace, scaly tree fern, straw tree fern

French: fanjan Australien, fougère arborescente d'Australia, fougère Australienne

Habit:  fern

Description:  "Plants tall, slender, treelike, scaly.  Caudices slender, erect, 1-2 (-4+) m tall, 7-12 cm diameter.  Fronds to 4+ m long, leaving oval scars on caudices after falling.  Stipes with scattered tubercles, scales at base, soon deciduous, often leaving older stipes naked, of 2 types: larger, to 40 x 2 mm, white, papery, with small dark red marginal spines; and narrow, about 10 x 0.1 mm, dark red or brown with minutely spiny margins, interrupted white line of aerophores along both sides of stipes.  Blades 2-pinnate-pinnatifid to 3-pinnate at base, green or light green above, paler below; rachises with dark brown, obtuse tubercles.  Pinnae up to 65 x 26 cm.  Pinnules stalked, tips acuminate.  Ultimate segments deeply pinnatifid to 1-pinnate, segment lobes falcate, margins irregularly toothed or rarely deeply lobed.  Veins 1-forked.  Sori medial, round, 2-10 per segment, paraphyses abundant, long hairs.  Indusia lacking" (Palmer, 2002).

"Trunk up to 15 cm diameter and to 12 m or more tall, thickened at the base and patterned throughout with large oval, cleancut scars left by fallen fronds; stipe bases brown, tuberculate, covered by long, white and short, red-brown scales; fronds up to 6 m long, green above, paler beneath; sori orbicular, surrounded by circular indusia, each made up of scales"  (Jones and Clemesha, 1976).

Description from the Flora of Australia online.

Habitat/ecology:  "Tropical and subtropical rain forest to montane forest in open sites, near streams, and in mountain gullies from sea level to 1400 m or higher" (Large & Braggins, 2004). "Very easily grown and very hardy; heavy frosts may kill the fronds, but plants recover quickly"  (Jones and Clemesha, 1976; p. 56).  "Suited to shade, fast growing, displaces understory vegetation"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Propagation:  Wind-dispersed spores.

Native range:  Australia (Queensland from Cooktown south and New South Wales as far south as the Illawarra district (Jones and Clemesha, 1976; p. 56).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 94)
"Potential invader".
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Palmer, Danial D. (2003) (p. 245)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Palmer, Danial D. (2003) (p. 245)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Oppenheimer, Hank (2008) (pp. 26-27)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer & Perlman H90705 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Palmer, Danial D. (2003) (p. 245)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Palmer, Danial D. (2003) (p. 245)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales native
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland native
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 30)
Cultivated only
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Lavergne, Christophe (2006)
"Très envahissant"
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Baret, Stephane/Rouget, Mathieu/Richardson, David M./Lavergne, Christophe/Egoh, Benis/Dupont, Joel/Strasberg, Dominique (2006) (p. 758)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
invasive
Kueffer, C./Mauremootoo, J. (2004) (pp. 7, 8)

Comments:  "This fast-growing fern is a serious threat to Hawaiian ecosystems" (Palmer, 2002; pp. 243-244). Naturalized in Western Australia.

Control: 

Physical:  Replace with tree fern species that are not as aggressive.  "Initial control of the Australian tree fern has been mechanical, wherein the trees are felled and the apical meristem removed and chopped up or set above ground to avoid contact with the soil so it cannot resprout, although it is not certain that it is capable of resprouting, as can some other tree ferns.  At Kōke‘e, felled tree ferns apparently do not resprout (Galen Kawakami, DOFAW).  However, it is not certain if resprouting is possible in higher-rainfall sites"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Chemical: "Australian tree fern was susceptible to sprays of concentrates of dicamba and of 2,4-D directly on the stem terminals.  Triclopyr was not as effective"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

"We found Habitat (aquatic-use imazapyr) to be quite effective on Australian tree fern (Sphaeropteris cooperi) with ULV application to the apical meristem"  Communication to the "Aliens" Listserver by James Leary, PhD, University of Hawaii at Manoa.


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 2 FEB 2013.