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Cyathea medullaris growing in New Zealand
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Polypodiopsida
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[1]. These workers concluded on molecular cpDNA and morphological evidence that a system of three clades – Alsophila, Cyathea and Sphaeropteris is the most accurate reflection of evolutionary lineages within the Cyatheaceae, Alsophila being the most basal and Cyathea and Sphaeropteris derived sister groups.

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

Uncertain or dubious taxa[edit]

Misassigned taxa[edit]


  1. ^ Conant, D.S.; Raubeson, L.A.; Attwood, D.K.; Perera, S.; Zimmer, E.A.; Sweere, J.A.; Stein, D.B. (1996). "Phylogenetic and evolutionary implications of combined analysis of DNA and morphology in the Cyatheaceae". In Camus, J.M.; Gibby, M.; Johns, R.J. (eds.). Pteridology in perspective. Kew, U.K.: Royal Botanic Gardens. pp. 231–248. ISBN 9781900347099.
  2. ^ 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]