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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cyathea cooperi - Australian Tree Fern

The tree ferns are not really trees, per se, but we will have a look because they are used as small trees in landscapes for a district tropical look. Slowly growing to 20' The Australian Tree fern has a very narrow truck thought they appear to gain girth near the foliage, its mostly leaf bases that will fall off.  They are less hardy than the Tasmanian Tree fern and is damaged during cold winters (30 degrees). There is one popular faster growing cultivar 'Bentwood'. From what I understand it grows faster has a fuller head with more upright leaves and might have more copper colored hairs. This large specimen is on Riverfront in Capitola.




Leaves, or fronds as they are called, are 6' -12' long and about 3' wide, bipinnately compound, with longer compound pinnae than the Tasmanian. The stipe (stalk) is covered with dark hairs.




Fiddleheads from a young developing leaf. You can see that all parts of the leaf unroll.



Trunk is initially covered with dark hairs and old leaves which eventually fall leaving behind a smooth trunk with distinct circular leaf scars.



Misidentification: Cyathea and Dicksonia are easily distinguished from one another. Cyathea has a narrow smooth trunk and wide leaves, while Dicksonia has a thick stem with remnants of the petioles attached and narrow leaves.



Locations: All over the county but both tree ferns can be seen at the following locations:

Aptos
415 Locke Dr

Capitola
205 Magellan St
316 Cliff Drive

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