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Not to be confused with Cyathium or Cyathus.
Cyathea medullaris growing in New Zealand
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Cyatheales
Family: Cyatheaceae
Genus: Cyathea
J. E. Smith, 1793
Subgenera and sections
  • Acanthea Lindig, 1861
  • Alsophila R. Brown, 1810
  • Amphicosmia Gardner, 1842
  • Chlamydia Moore, 1857
  • Chnoophora Kaulfuss, 1824
  • Cormiophyllum Newman, 1856
  • Cyatheopsis Karsten, 1858
  • Dichorexia Presl, 1847
  • Dicranophlebia Martius, 1834
  • Disphenia Presl, 1836
  • Eatoniopteris Bommer, 1873
  • Eleutheria Kunze, 1844
  • Fourniera Bommer, 1873
  • Gymnopremnon Lindig, 1861
  • Gymnosphaera Blume, 1828
  • Halophlebia Martius, 1834
  • Hymenophyllopsis Goebel, 1929
  • Nephelea Tryon, 1970
  • Notocarpia Presl, 1836
  • Notophoria Presl, 1848
  • Sarcopholis
  • Schizocaena W. J. Hooker, 1838
  • Schizocaena J. E. Smith, 1838
  • Sclephropteris P. G. Windisch
  • Sphaeropteris Bernhardi, 1801
  • Thysanobotrya Alderwerelt, 1918
  • Trachypremnon Lindig, 1861
  • Trichipteris Presl, 1822
  • Trichopteris Spreng., orth. var.

Cyathea is a genus of tree ferns, the type genus of the fern order Cyatheales.

The genus name Cyathea is derived from the Greek kyatheion, meaning "little cup", and refers to the cup-shaped sori on the underside of the fronds.


The species of Cyathea are mostly terrestrial ferns, usually with a single tall stem. Rarely, the trunk may be branched or creeping. Many species also develop a fibrous mass of roots at the base of the trunk.

The genus has a pantropical distribution, with over 470 species. They grow in habitats ranging from tropical rain forests to temperate woodlands.


The classification below follows the findings of Conant et al. in 1996[citation needed]. Conant concluded, based on molecular cpDNA and morphological evidence, that a system of three clades – Alsophila, Cyathea and Sphaeropteris, whereby Alsophila is most basal and Cyathea and Sphaeropteris are derived sister groups – is the most accurate reflection of evolutionary lineages within the Cyatheaceae.

Subgenus Cyathea, section Alsophila
Subgenus Cyathea, section Cyathea
Subgenus Sphaeropteris, section Sphaeropteris
Subgenus Hymenophyllopsis

Uncertain or dubious taxa[edit]

Misassigned taxa[edit]


  1. ^ Ranil, R.H.G., D.K.N.G. Pushpakumara, T. Janssen, D.S.A. Wijesundara & D.U.M.B. Dhanasekara 2010. Cyathea srilankensis Ranil: a new tree fern species from Sri Lanka. American Fern Journal 100(1): 39–44. doi:10.1640/0002-8444-100.1.39


  1. ^ Cyathea gardneri (W. J. Hooker) Lellinger 1987, not C. gardneri W. J. Hooker 1844.
  2. ^ Cyathea microphylla (Klotzsch) Tryon 1970, not C. microphylla Mettenius 1856.
  3. ^ Cyathea parva (Maxon) Tryon 1976, not C. parva Copeland 1942.


  • Christenhusz, M.J.M. (2009). New combinations and an overview of Cyathea subg. Hymenophyllopsis (Cyatheaceae). Phytotaxa 1: 37-42.
  • Large, M.F. and J.E. Braggins (2004). Tree Ferns. Timber Press, Inc. ISBN 0-88192-630-2
  • Lehnert, M. (2006). New species and records of tree ferns (Cyatheaceae, Pteridophyta) in the northern Andes. Organisms, Diversity & Evolution 6: 321-322, electronic supplement 13: 1-11.
  • Lehnert, M. (2009). Three new species of scaly tree ferns (Cyathea-Cyatheaceae) from the northern Andes. Phytotaxa 2: 43-56.
  • The International Plant Names Index

External links[edit]