Cyathea ×marcescens N.A.Wakef.

Skirted Tree-fern

Victorian Naturalist 59: 33 (1942) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Threat status:Victoria: vulnerable (v)

Trunk erect, to 8 m tall and 30 cm diam. Fronds 2–4 m long. Stipe 20–30 cm long, coarse, black, shiny, with sharp conical tubercles; persistent stipe bases crumbly; scales (at base) tapering, 2–6 cm long, coarse, glossy-brown, almost opaque, with fragile edges and a dark red seta at tip. Lamina subtriangular, 3-pinnate with pinnae slightly shorter near stipe, mid-green to dark green, paler underneath; primary and secondary pinnae narrowly oblong with shortly acuminate to acuminate tips; lower surface of rachises with various scattered scales; those of ultimate rachises somewhat inflated, with setae; those on midveins markedly inflated with hair tips or setae; upper surface of rachises with pale hairs. Pinnules attached by full breadth, slightly decurrent, margins shallowly toothed to lobed. Sori with ovoid, hairy receptacle, with tuft of longer hairs at tip; indusium at base of receptacle, and partly (or sometimes wholly) hidden, membranous, almost semicircular, slightly concave, pale with dark centre and irregular margin; spores usually absent.

EGU, HFE, HSF, OtP, OtR, Strz. Also Tas. (including King Is.). Thought to be a sterile hybrid between C. australis and C. cunninghamii, and its distribution echoes that of the less common of those species, C. cunninghamii. It is retained as a distinct taxon due to its relatively consistent morphology wherever it occurs.

Persistent dead fronds often, but not always, skirt the trunk (other species of Cyathea may also retain a few old fronds) and it has a large crown and thick trunk like C. australis, but is generally much shorter. Once regarded as Victoria's only endemic fern taxon, it has recently been found in north-east Tasmania. A recent report of C. ×marcescens from just across the New South Wales-Victorian border near Mallacoota appears to be a misidentified C. cunninghamii.

Source: Entwisle, T.J. (1994). Ferns and allied plants (Psilophyta, Lycopodiophyta, Polypodiophyta). In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
order Cyatheales
family Cyatheaceae
genus Cyathea
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Cyathea ×marcescens in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cyathea ×marcescens in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Otway Plain present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Highlands-Far East present native