Alsophila spinulosa (Wall. ex Hook.) R. M. Tryon, Contr. Gray Herb. 200: 32 1970. (syn: Alsophila boninsimensis (Christ ex Diels) Christ; Alsophila confucii Christ; Alsophila decipiens J. Scott ex Bedd.; Alsophila fauriei Christ; Alsophila taiwaniana Nakai; Amphicosmia decipiens (J. Scott ex Bedd.) Bedd.; Cyathea austrosinica Christ; Cyathea boninsimensis (Christ ex Diels) Copel.; Cyathea confucii (Christ) Copel.; Cyathea decipiens (J. Scott ex Bedd.) C. B. Cl. & Bak.; Cyathea fauriei (Christ) Copel.; Cyathea spinulosa Wall. (ambiguous synonym); Cyathea spinulosa Wall. ex Hook., Sp. Fil. (ambiguous synonym); Cyathea taiwaniana Nakai; Hemitelia beddomei C. B. Cl.; Hemitelia boninsimensis Christ ex Diels; Hemitelia decipiens (J. Scott ex Bedd.) Scott);
Indian Subcontinent to Temp. E. Asia and N. Indo-China: Assam, Bangladesh, China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Hainan, India, Japan, Kazan-retto, Laos, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, Ogasawara-shoto, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam, West Himalaya as per POWO;
China (Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan), SE-Tibet, Taiwan, Ryukyu Isl., Bangladesh, India (Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam State, Chhattisgarh, ?Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, ?Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, West Bengal), Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar [Burma], N-Thailand, Vietnam, Bonin Isl. (Chichijima, Hahajima), Volcano Isl. (Kita-Iwojima, Minami-Iwojima) as per Catalogue of Life;
Tree fern;


Cyathea spinulosa Wall. ex Hook.
Common name: Tree fern
Famly: Cyathaeaceae
Date: 17.05.2010
Location: Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand
Note: This is the only tree fern found in Western Himalaya in India.
The person standing below in one of the pics is Dr. Amit Kotiya, who happens to be one of able member of this group, a very good taxonomist
and field botanist.

Description of the Fern from the link below

I don’t think we should unscrupulously follow the description of an Indian plant from anywhere else in the world, whether it is Pakistan, China or Taiwan. Just in the case of current link given by .., trunk of my plant was sometimes over 15cm in diameter though it never reached 6 meter but it was somewhere around 4m in height.
My plant was not found in dark forest as you can see the area was so bright that I had even problems in taking pictures. To be specific the
particular individuals in the pic were growing near a stream in a Pinus roxburghii forest. Rocky stream was almost dried up but may be
some water was there in the rocky crevices.
I hope people will take my comments in good spirits.
Presence of spines on the stipes are the main feature to identify this Cyathea.

This fern is very common in Arunachal Pradesh. Locally called as ‘Tange’ by ‘Adi’ tribes who use to feed the stem part to their cattle after peeling out the spiny layer. Additionally, C. gigantea and C. andersonii are also reported from this region.

You are right but in Western Himalaya this is very rare.
May be because of lower humidity, but not sure….

Tree Fern Id from Bangladesh_SM_1450 : 17 posts by 5 authors. Attachments (1)
Location: Sangu Matamuri Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandarban
Picture taken: February, 2019

I think this is insufficient for id. Pl. post detailed images, if you have.

Agree totally and wholeheartedly with … sending in these kinds of pictures by botanists or related science workers is not really desirable for science in general or for the project they are working on. what a waste of time and energy by all and what would a student of next generation learn from us???? please be mindful.

Sorry for inconvenience

No problem, thanks!

… you have not understood this. its delay in your work. isn’t it? you as a forest officer are trying to accomplish something, right? and we are here to help you identify what you cant, correct? or validate your ID. so if you take  completely identifiable pictures. it helps you in your chosen endeavours. that’s what its all about and in the process we feel good. that’s all.
but in science its validation of efforts by a science guy working in difficult situations and whatever you are trying to do. You are not new. you have been here for quite some time, so i would have liked to have seen a response like: thanks … when i go next in that area i will get better complete set of pictures and from now on i will Endeavor to take more details

Thanks for your time and great advices. I would go accordingly now onward.

that’s the spirit. be positive, you will go a long way, your work will progress well

No, sorry – it is as you say entirely insufficient.  ll the literature talks about the indument under the pinnules and I have said it hundreds of times.  For tree-ferns we have to have a close up of the underside of a pinnules and to see young sori as well. And we also need to know if the stipe is spiny or smooth, pale or more-or-less black.
In general it looks most like the common C. spinulosa (syn.: Alsophila spinulosa), but no one can tell from a general picture like this. I can only say it’s a tree-fern!

Another view. It was not possible to get close shot despite of its present in top hill.
Attachments (1) – 725 kb.

so, pictures needed are
1: indument – a covering of fine hairs (or sometimes scales) as on a leaf or insect. indumentum. covering, natural covering, cover – a natural object that covers or envelops; “under a covering of dust”; “the fox was flushed from its cover”
2: Leaves and indument of species of Polystichopsis. A–C. P. leucochaete. D–G. P. chaerophylloides. A. Fertile leaf. B. Pinnule, abaxial surface. C. Indusium with acicular hairs. D. Fertile leaf. E. Rhizomes scales. F. Pinnule. G. Detail of sorus. (A–C drawn from Maxon 2860, NY; D–G drawn from Britton et al. 5545, NY. from paper:

fig F above shows underside of a pinnule .
B in this one shows underside of a pinnule
both figures are from a paper: 
3: stipe is identified in this figure
photograph it well to show ” And we also need to know if the stipe is spiny or smooth, pale or more-or-less black.”
as … has asked for. 
this pic is from a page i find is very useful for everybody who want to photograph frns for identification.
plus the entire tree fern needs to be photographed
i personally also like to see the surface features of the so called trunk of the tree fern . 
and any fiddleheads 
And if you can get underneath a tree, you look up and are rewarded
as in this picture 
… this is how i prepare  for photographing something i have not done previously
hope this of help 

It looks like Cyathia gigantia a tree fern, which is also found in Godavari district

Yes, I do understand it can be difficult to reach tree-fern fronds.  I’ve often stood at tip-toe on a steep slope attempting to hook down the tip of a frond with a stick to pull it slightly down to grab a few pinnules from the main pinna.  Or sometimes throwing a stick or stone up to try to knock off a pinnule – which invariably falls out of reach into a deep ravine or something!  But without this tree-ferns are just tree-ferns, no identification possible.
     Well the new photo shows the stipes are not dark or blackish, so that eliminates C. gigantea, C. khasiana, C. henryi and C. andersonii.  But I can’t see if they have short spines or not – if so, at that altitude and place it would be C. spinulosa, as expected.  If not, probably C. brunoniana (nom. cons. prop.) (syn. C. sollyana) – but the pinnae are not in enough detail to see that.
     So for now I stick with probable C. spinulosa, but C. brunoniana as a possibility.  C. brunoniana is rarer, so more interesting.
     It is good to see a large full-grown plant as so much forest there has been destroyed and used up.  But because tree-ferns are OK in the sun (that was the point of the trunk-habit!), as long as the base is among dense undergrowth and does not dry up, I have seen quite a few decent-sized plants of tree-ferns in a few areas, such as towards the Meghalaya border north of Sylhet, near Jaintiapur (C. khasiyana) or down in the ravines at Kalatoli, near Cox’s Bazaar (a great place Professor Pasha showed me – with C. henryi and a new species of Diplazium I found there, D. banglum), and of course around Banderban and up to the Myanmar border beyond Ruma (C. henryi) and have seen C. spinulosa about there too, though I didn’t collect it.
     Can you revisit some time and throw a stick or stone up to grab a pinnule?  And take a zoomed photo of the lower stipes  to show scales and possible spines, then we can clinch its identity.

Hakgala Botanical Garden of Sri Lanka is the highest set Botanical Garden in the world – 5000 to 6000 ft. above sea-level. this garden was expanded during British period and has wide variety of trees brought from Japan,China, California and Queensland. In this garden, first time I came ac cross a Fern Tree. Uptil now, I had seen only bushes or shrubs of Fern (in India too we may be having this variety!). its a genus of Cyathea. is it crinita or spinulosa ? I don’t remember exactly. Kindly confirm.

In Eastern India we have Cyathia spinulosa. Your specimen is not definitely that one, so it is possible C.crnita. It is just an assumption.

The first image is not informative,

  The second image, I think that is Cyathea spinulosa, any way not C.crinita.
  But Srilanka have C.crinita.
Please remember to post close and  informative images, that means, should show appendages, soral arrangement  etc

The pteridophyte in the attached photo is Cyathea spinulosa.

Earlier I wrote that C. spinulosa is known to me (See the attachment).
This specimen does not look the same to me (only from external appearance)

I only suggested the name and not sure about it. Its hard for me to distinguish a tree fern from a photograph taken at a distance and not close enough. I urge experts like you to please suggest the correct specific epithet of the plant.


47-TSP-ID-27APR2016-3: Giant fern @ Bisle for ID : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)

Kindly identify this plant giant fern 

Habit: Erect herb 

Habitat: Wild, terrestrial, Wet evergreen forest 

Sighting: Bisle, Sakaleshpur, Karnataka, about 1000 msl 

Date: 27-10-2015

Angiopteris helferiana?

We have done study for this region and especially I’ve noted this particular place earlier.
These gigantic ferns are nothing but mostly Angiopteris evecta (G. Forst.) Hoffm. intermixed with few fronds of the tree fern Cyathea sp.
These ferns are perennial in nature and can be found thriving well in the region with high moisture content especially close to waterfalls and streams as they are at this particular place.

No – it’s a Cyathea 1. is stipe spiny or not? 2. can I see a close-up of the underside of a pinnule?
Most likely C. spinulosa. But close-up needed.


SK643 13 JUL-2017:ID : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (6)
Location: Soureni, Mirik, India
Date: 20 May 2017
Altitude: 4200 ft. 
Cyathea spinulosa Wall. ?? or Cyathea gigantea (Wall. ex Hook.) Holtt. ??

Sorry – totally unidentifiable as photos do not show anything one must see in order to identify tree-ferns!  Can I again recommend reading the literature about how to identify each group of ferns, rather than depending on sending photos for someone to look at! To work in Botany one MUST learn the characters of the species and thus know what to photograph.
Anyway here goes (for tree-ferns):
1. The stipe-photo should be close enough to show clearly if there are blunt thorns on the stipe-base – these photos don’t show it – but I extrapolate that they are present/.
In this case because the stipe and rachis are not black, it is nothing to do with the C. gigantea/henryi/khasiyana group.
2. Large photos of “a tree-fern” are actually of no use at all.
3. The lamina – you photographed the top-surface – but this tells you nothing!  We need to see the pattern of the sori.  However I kow they will not be in V-shaped patterns as in C. gigantea and C. henryi.
The species can only be C. spinulosa or C. chinensis.
4. But there we must stop.  You have to show a good, clear, in-focus magnified photo of a non fertile part of the undersurface of a single pinnule. This is because we have to see the scales on the costules and in particular, whether there are many tiny hairs on the costule undersurface (C. chinensis) or just scales only and no tiny hairs (C.  spinulosa).
Finally I’d guess wildly without evidence from morphology that this should most likely be the very common C. spinulosa – but you need to get a lens and examine those pinnule midribs to look for tiny hairs – easy to see in living material.
A word on the nomenclature – if you prefer (I don’t and I think Holttim’s treatment in Cyathea was more appropriate taxonomically) you can call it Alsophila spinulosa.
But if it turns out to be C. chinensis, the nomenclature is more awkward.  The valid name in Cyathea is C. brunoniana (C.B.Clarke) C.B.Clarke & Baker, or alternatively in Alsophila, Alsophila costularis.  This brunoniana is nothing to do with Sphaeropteris brunoniana (Wall.) R.M. Tryon, a quite different brunoniana – which in Cyathea is C. sollyana (Griff.) Fraser-Jenk.




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