Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

Sphaeropteris cooperi
(Cyatheaceae)

Australian tree fern

 
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The Australian tree fern (Sphaeropteris cooperi) is a large tree fern (up to 40 feet tall) with large triangular leaves (up to 20 feet tall) with lacy blades. Its scaly brown stems fall off when dead, leaving oval scars. Unlike native Hawaiian tree ferns (Cibotium spp.), the stems of which have red hairs and thick, soft fiber wrapping, the Australian tree form has white hairs on its stalks, and lacks the thick fiber wrapping.  Sphaeropteris cooperi is native to Australia. 


Species description or overview

Sphaeropteris cooperi information from CTAHR (Motooka et al.) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Information about Sphaeropteris cooperi from "Weeds of Hawaii's pastures and natural areas: an identification and management guide" (Motooka et al. 2003) is provided by the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).


Taxonomy & nomenclature

GRIN nomenclature info for Sphaeropteris cooperi
Nomenclatural information about Sphaeropteris cooperi is provided by USDA/ARS/NGRP/GRIN.

Sphaeropteris cooperi information from the Smithsonian's Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Sphaeropteris cooperi--including nomenclature and synonymy, and status and distribution in Hawaii--is provided by the "Flora of the Hawaiian Islands" website of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Links from this page include descriptive information about the species, as well as worldwide distributional information and general information about the genus.

Sphaeropteris cooperi information from ITIS
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS provides authoritative taxonomic information on Sphaeropteris cooperi, as well as other plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

IPNI nomenclature info for Sphaeropteris cooperi
Nomenclatural information about Sphaeropteris cooperi is provided by The International Plant Names Index (IPNI).


Impacts

Eradicating 'superweed' is an information war
"In addition to combating the invasive Australian tree fern using herbicides, an information war has been launched. Jackie Kozak, the Kauai community outreach person for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, works with the public and individuals within the green industry to educate them on the dangers invasive species such as the Australian tree fern pose."

'Superweed' strikes at heart of watershed
"War has been declared. And the Australian tree fern is the enemy. Local officials have begun battling the lanky, invasive plant, which they say threatens to push out Kauai's native vegetation and wreak havoc on the watershed."

Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae): species information from GCW
Information on Sphaeropteris cooperi as relevant to Pacific Islands is provided by the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).


Control methods

Sphaeropteris cooperi information from CTAHR (Motooka et al.) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Information about Sphaeropteris cooperi from "Weeds of Hawaii's pastures and natural areas: an identification and management guide" (Motooka et al. 2003) is provided by the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).


Images

Images of Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae) (Australian tree fern)
Links to high-resolution free images of Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae) (Australian tree fern) by Forest & Kim Starr (USGS) are available here.

Sphaeropteris cooperi information from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Sphaeropteris cooperi in Hawaii is available from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.


Distribution

Sphaeropteris cooperi information from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Sphaeropteris cooperi in Hawaii is available from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.

Distribution of Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae) in the Hawaiian Islands as of 08/96
Distribution of Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae) in the Hawaiian Islands as of 08/96

Map of estimated distribution of Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae) on the island of Kauai
Map of estimated distribution of Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae) on the island of Kauai

Map of estimated distribution of Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae) on the island of Maui
Daniel Rubinoff, a professor at the University of Hawaii, presents a summary of his work regarding the application of systematics. At the time of this writing, this page featured one of his lab's discoveries, Hyposmocoma molluscivora, a snail-eating caterpillar from Maui (Hawaii, USA).

Map of estimated distribution of Sphaeropteris cooperi (Cyatheaceae) on the island of Oahu
This fern is established at locations on west Oahu, according to this 1995 map.

Sphaeropteris cooperi information from the Smithsonian's Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Sphaeropteris cooperi--including nomenclature and synonymy, and status and distribution in Hawaii--is provided by the "Flora of the Hawaiian Islands" website of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Links from this page include descriptive information about the species, as well as worldwide distributional information and general information about the genus.

Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy (2000) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The status of invasive plants, vertebrates, arthropods, molluscs, and crustaceans, and options for a regional invasive species strategy for the South Pacific are presented in this series of articles from the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, 2000.


Books

Hawaii's ferns and fern allies
Palmer, Daniel D. 2003. Hawaii's ferns and fern allies. Contribuition no. 2002-010 to the Hawaii Biological Survey. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu. 324 pp. ISBN: 0-8248-2522-5.

Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas: An Identification and Management Guide
Motooka, Philip, Luisa Castro, Duane Nelson, Guy Nagai, and Lincoln Ching. 2003. Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas: An Identification and Management Guide. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (University of Hawaii--Manoa), Honolulu. 184 pp. color illus. ISBN: 1-929325-14-2.


In the news

Eradicating 'superweed' is an information war
"In addition to combating the invasive Australian tree fern using herbicides, an information war has been launched. Jackie Kozak, the Kauai community outreach person for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, works with the public and individuals within the green industry to educate them on the dangers invasive species such as the Australian tree fern pose."

'Superweed' strikes at heart of watershed
"War has been declared. And the Australian tree fern is the enemy. Local officials have begun battling the lanky, invasive plant, which they say threatens to push out Kauai's native vegetation and wreak havoc on the watershed."

Australian tree fern threat to native Hawaiian plants
"Australian tree fern threat to native Hawaiian plants" is an article about the harmful effects of using Australian tree ferns (Sphaeropteris cooperi) for landscaping in Hawaii.


Full-text articles

Differential colonization by epiphytes on native (Cibotium spp.) and alien (Cyathea cooperi) tree ferns in a Hawaiian rain forest
Medeiros, Arthur C., Lloyd L. Loope, and Stephen J. Anderson. 1993. Differential colonization by epiphytes on native (Cibotium spp.) and alien (Cyathea cooperi) tree ferns in a Hawaiian rain forest. Selbyana 14:71-74.

Notes on the status of an invasive Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian rain forests
Medeiros, Arthur C., Lloyd L. Loope, T. Flynn, Stephen J. Anderson, Linda W. Cuddihy, and K.A. Wilson. 1992. Notes on the status of an invasive Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian rain forests. American Fern Journal 82, no. 1:27-33.

The naturalization of an Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian rain forests
Medeiros, Arthur C., Lloyd L. Loope, T. Flynn, Linda W. Cuddihy, K.A. Wilson, and Stephen J. Anderson. 1992. The naturalization of an Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian rain forests. American Fern Journal 82, no. 1:27-33.

Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy
South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP). Sherley, Greg (ed.) . 2000. Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy. Apia, Samoa: South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. ISBN: 982-04-0214-X.

Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas: An Identification and Management Guide
Motooka, Philip, Luisa Castro, Duane Nelson, Guy Nagai, and Lincoln Ching. 2003. Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas: An Identification and Management Guide. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (University of Hawaii--Manoa), Honolulu. 184 pp. color illus. ISBN: 1-929325-14-2.


Presentations

Jumping the fence: Ways of dealing with invasive plants in landscaping View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Strategies for avoiding invasives in landscaping, including voluntary codes of conduct among landscapers, and developing seedless varieties and tetraploids, are in this presentation from University of Hawaii.


Other resources

Differential colonization by epiphytes on native (Cibotium spp.) and alien (Cyathea cooperi) tree ferns in a Hawaiian rain forest
Medeiros, Arthur C., Lloyd L. Loope, and Stephen J. Anderson. 1993. Differential colonization by epiphytes on native (Cibotium spp.) and alien (Cyathea cooperi) tree ferns in a Hawaiian rain forest. Selbyana 14:71-74.

Notes on the status of an invasive Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian rain forests
Medeiros, Arthur C., Lloyd L. Loope, T. Flynn, Stephen J. Anderson, Linda W. Cuddihy, and K.A. Wilson. 1992. Notes on the status of an invasive Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian rain forests. American Fern Journal 82, no. 1:27-33.

The naturalization of an Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian rain forests
Medeiros, Arthur C., Lloyd L. Loope, T. Flynn, Linda W. Cuddihy, K.A. Wilson, and Stephen J. Anderson. 1992. The naturalization of an Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi) in Hawaiian rain forests. American Fern Journal 82, no. 1:27-33.

Distribution and Spread of Alien Plants in Kipahulu Valley, Haleakala National Park, above 2,300 ft Elevation View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
A baseline survey based on a network of 20 transects and 400 plots provides information on alien plant distribution during feral pig removal and prior to alien plant control efforts in Kipahulu Valley, Maui (from Alien Plant Invasions in Native Ecosystems of Hawaii: Management and Research, 1992, 39 pp).


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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project was historically funded by the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) through PIERC (USGS) with support from HCSU (UH Hilo). More details are available online. Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

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