Cyathea brunoniana – A less known Pteridophyte from Kolasib, Mizoram

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Ramesh Kumar, H.A. Barbhuiya, A. Benniamin*, S.K.Singh

Botanical Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre, Shillong-793003

emails: rkpaliwalbsi @;;

*Botanical Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, Pune – 411101



A less known CITES Species of Pteridophyte: Cyathea brunoniana (Wall. ex Hook.) Clarke & Baker is described from Kolasib, Mizoram. The illustrative photographs are also provided for its easy identification.

Keywords Cyathea brunoniana, Pteridophyte, Mizoram, Rare.


The family Cyatheaceae J.Sm. is one of the most beautiful and attractive tree fern among the pteridophytes. It has is always attracting attracted the attention of naturalists and botanist since for ages because of its gigantic and beautiful foliage. It is a relatively large pantropical family with about 500 extant species in the world (Tryon and Gastony, 1975). In India, the family is represented by 14 species (Dixit, 1998), of which 8 species were reported from North East India. (Ghosh et al., 2004), 7 species from Arunachal Pradesh (Jenkins et al., 2012), 3 species from South India (Manickam & Irudayaraj, 1992) 2 species in Andaman Nicobar Islands (Dixit  & Sinha, 2001).

The Cyathea brunoniana (Wall. ex Hook.) Clarke & Baker was first described by Wallich in his catalogue as Alsophila brunoniana Wall. on the basis of collection made by him from Sylhet district of Bangladesh. Later, the species was validly published by Hooker (1844). Clarke (1880) and Beddome (1883) reported the plant as Hemitelia brunoniana C. B. Clarke and Amphicosmia brunoniana Bedd. respectively from Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Meghalaya. Clarke & Baker (1888) synonymized the above name under Cyathea brunoniana (Wall. ex Hook.) Clarke & Baker.

World Conservation Monitoring Centre (2003) included the plant in Appendix II of CITES. Chowdhury (2005) listed the plant from Assam. Singh and Panigrahi (2005) reported the plant from Papumpare and Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. Zhang (2004) reported the plant from China. Newman et al. (2007) reported the plant from Lao PDR. Because of its rapidly declining population in India Chandra et al. (2008) listed this species under “At Risk” category. Kholia (2010) mentioned a single plant occurring at Bhanu Park, Gangtok, Sikkim. Sen and Ghosh (2011) reported its ethnobotanical potential in Assam (rhizome is used in making flower vase, ash trays, pots etc.).  The hard woody stem is also used as pillars, substrate for growing the epiphytes.

While surveying the flora of Bukpui located in the Kolasib district of Mizoram the authors observed the same plant which is described in the present communication.

Taxonomic Description

Cyathea brunoniana (Wall. ex Hook.) Clarke & Baker. in J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 24: 409. 1888. Holtt. in Kew Bull.19: 486.1965; Dixit, Cens. Indian Pterid.: 93.1984. Alsophila brunoniana Wall. ex Hook., Sp. Fil. 1: 52. 1844; Bedd., Fern. Brit. India t. 86.1865. Sphaeropteris brunoniana (Wall. ex Hook.) Tryon, Cotrib. Gray Herb. no. 200: 21. 1970; Dixit, Indian Fern J. 15: 40. 1998. Alsophila costularis Baker, Kew Bull. Misc. Inf. 1906: 8. 1906.

A lofty tree fern, Caudex upto 10 m tall.  Stipe scales light brown, edges bearing short, darker setae. Stipe, rachis, pinna-rachis stramineous, muricate to warty ending into dark to blackish tip appears to be a gland in dried specimens; glabrescent on lower surface. Fronds 2-3 x 1.5-1.7 m, crowned, bipinnate to tripinnatified, glaucous beneath; pinnae more than 60-80 x 25-30 cm long; pinnules 8.0-15 x 2.0-2.8 cm, lowest 1 or 2 segments almost free, rest deeply lobed, costules 1-1.5 x 0.4-0.6 cm, veins 10-13 pairs, forked, acroscopic, branch often again forked; lower surface greenish-glaucous, margins entire, slightly inflexed. Sori exindusiate, spherical, occurring near costules, brown in colour; fertile segments narrower than the sterile ones, falcate, paraphyses many narrow scales seen around sorus, a few small scales with marginal hairs and the larger scales with marginal setae observed on costae and costules.

Specimen examined: Mizoram, Kolasib District, Bukpui, 24º 4’ 25’’N & 92º 47’ 27’’E, 935 m, 05.12.2010, S. K. Singh & party 120805 (ASSAM); Murlen National Park, 23 32’43”-23 41’36”E &  92 13’12”-92 27’24,  1250 m,13.02.2009, A. Benniamin 22052 (ARUN)


India (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, West Bengal) Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Vietnam.


Growing in the moist shady hill slopes along water channels.


The authors are thankful to Director, BSI Kolkata and Scientist in-charge, BSI Shillong and Itanagar for encouragements and facilities. Thanks are also to the Forest Department of Mizoram for their logistic support during our study.


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Fig.1. Cyathea brunoniana. A. Habit. B. Crown of the plant. C. Crozier. D. Stipe base showing scales. E. Arrangement of sori.

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