Prickly Tree Fern Audit

Prickly Tree Ferns (Cyathea leichhardtiana) are critically endangered in Victoria. They are a highly venerable to fire and disturbance related impacts and only exist in the region’s most sheltered rainforest gullies.


The Mt. Drummer RFSOS where over 60 Prickly Tree-ferns were recently confirmed to have survived the 2020 megafire


With more than 90% of historical Prickly Tree Fern populations impacted by fire in 2020, EGCMN are now running the only investigation into the survivorship of this species. Providing up to date information by systematically surveying areas where the fern has previously been know to occur.

We are also partnering with several community environment group, Latrobe University and Envite Environment, with funding from the Australian Government to sample an sequence the Tree Ferns genetics to ascertain the level of genetic relatedness of the populations, many of which are likely to have been isolated for 1000’s of years. This work will also inform future decisions about growing and reinstating the ferns to areas where they have been lost.

EGCMN field crew take genetic samples from a Prickly Tree Fern

The Ross Trust has provided funding for us to coordinate and deliver a region wide audit of this amazing species and we thank them for their ongoing support.

Concerningly our surveys have discovered the ferns are no longer present at multiple sites, leading us to believe they have become locally extinct in some areas, due to both previous land management decision making and recent bushfire/ or a combination of the two

However, other populations we have recently surveyed have survived and appear to be healthy, supporting over 100 individual plants.

We will be releasing site based reports as we complete the surveys and a detailed report into our findings in due course.

Stay tuned or get in touch to find out more.