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Cibotium glaucum

This large tree fern with leathery fronds is native to Hawaii and can occasionally be found for sale in California.  Although the trunk usually does not surpass 12' tall, the beautiful arching fronds can reach a great length.  It seems to be able to handle a degree or two of frost without protection, and there may be some large specimens outdoors in sheltered California gardens.  It is probably not unlike C. menziesii in its requirements in cultivation, but one reference suggests it is even less cold-hardy.  Any attempt to grow it outdoors in zone 8 or 9a would require elaborate winter protection measures, as temperatures more than a couple degrees below freezing would likely be the death of it.

Cibotium glaucum in habitat in Hawaii.  The fronds are sun-scorched from exposure as a result of forest clearing.  Photo courtesy of Peter Richardson.

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