Australian Tree Fern


australiantreefernAustralian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi)

Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment: 16, High Risk

Regulatory Status: None

Prevention and Control Category: MoMISC Target Species

Report this species if seen on Molokai







  • Large tree fern up to 12 m (40ft) tall with large (up to 6m long) triangular leaves, lacy blades
  • Scaly, brown stems fall off when dead, leaving oval scars
  • White hairs on stalks (unlike native hapuu, which has red hairs)
  • Trunk doesn’t have the thick, soft fiber wrapping like the native hapuu
  • Native to Australia, introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental


  • Wind spread spores can travel over 12 km (7 miles) from parent plant, as seen when plants from Hana nurseries spread to Kipahulu Valley.
  • Fast growing and aggressively outcompetes native plants in the forest understory
  • Displaces native ferns, including the slower growing hapuu


  • Kauai: Spreading in native forests including Hanalei, Koloa, and Kokee. Landowners are asked to plant non-invasive alternates instead.
  • Oahu: Spreading in the Koolau and Waianae mountains. Landowners are asked to plant non-invasive alternates instead.
  • Maui: Widely cultivated and naturalized. Infesting Kipahulu Valley, Peahi, Haiku, and areas in West Maui.
  • Molokai: No infestations known in the wild, although planted in landscaped areas at several residences. MoMISC is working to educate community members to remove these plants and select non-invasive alternates.
  • Lanai: Presence/absence unknown
  • Kahoolawe: None known.
  • Big Island: Spreading from landscaped areas in Volcano, Laupahoehoe, Kona and other areas. Landowners are asked to plant non-invasive alternatives instead of non-native tree ferns.

For more information, see: