Cyathea australis is a superb looking Tree Fern from the forests of Southeast Australia (and Tasmania and Norfolk Island) comes this medium to large sized tree fern. In the wild it inhabits moist mountain areas in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, and is often found growing in the company of Dicksonia antarctica but preferring more sunny open spots.
It has a large, very rough, woody trunk with long weeping dark green fronds that are pale green underneath. Trunk sizes have been found to grow up to as high as 20 metres! It’s common name, the Rough Tree Fern, comes from the extremely rough texture of the remaining stipe bases on the trunk.
This name is well founded as I can testify have grappled with them when planting and emptying containers!
This characteristic of the trunk gives this hardy tree fern a very striking appearance in comparision to Dicksonia antarctica.
Cyathea australis is adaptable to a variety of soil types and make an ideal garden or tub plant. As with most Tree Ferns it likes plenty of water but tolerates considerable exposure to direct sunlight and is more resistant to strong wind than Dicksonia antarctica.
In Australia it grows in more exposed sites than Dicksonia antarctica and is potentially as hardy although developing fronds appear somewhat more sensitive to frost. In the colder parts of Ireland winter protection of the trunk is recommended and as with all Tree Ferns the crown should be filled with straw, leaves or as in my case pine needles.
This is a big favourite of mine and is highly recommended for those who want to add a new Tree Fern species to their collection. I have absolutely no problem with this plant. The new croziers are a delight to watch unfurl around April to May time.
Hardiness: : Hardy to no more than -8 Celsius (for short periods)