Cyathea Sm.

16 species native AUST.; Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas., W.A.

Tree ferns with an erect caudex up to 20m high. Bases of the stipes persistent or deciduous, clothed with distinctive scales. Stipes fawn or yellow to dark brown or red-brown or purplish black or sometimes black, usually muricate or aculeate; the spines obtuse, acute or pungent, straight or curved. Lamina lanceolate to broadly ovate, bipinnate to decompound, membranous to thick and chartaceous but mostly coriaceous. Veins free; minor veinlets simple, once or twice forked or sometimes pinnate; costae and costules mostly clothed with distinctive scales and/or hairs. Sori on the axils of, or dorsal on the veinlets, exindusiate or indusiate; the indusium cupuliform or hemitelioid (semicircular) or consisting of a ring tuft of scales. Receptacle elevated, oval, globular or columnar. Sporangia pyriform or cuneate; the pedicel short and thick, consisting of 4 rows of cells; the annulus oblique; the stomium lateral, definite. Paraphyses usually present, filamentous, mostly fawn or reddish. Spores tetrahedral, trilete, smooth or papillose.In Cyathea the base of a stipe with the basal tuft of hairs should be collected, also a portion of the lamina should be examined under the microscope for details of the costal scales or hairs.