tree fern

noun
any of various ferns, mostly tropical and chiefly of the family Cyatheaceae, that attain the size of trees, sending up a straight trunklike stem with foliage at the summit.

Origin:
1840–50

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World English Dictionary
tree fern
 
n
any of numerous large tropical ferns, mainly of the family Cyatheaceae, having a trunklike stem bearing fronds at the top

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

tree fern

any of a group of relatively primitive ferns in the order Cyatheales, most of them characterized by ascending trunklike stems and an arborescent (treelike) habit. Tree ferns are conspicuous plants of humid tropical forests around the world. Species found at lower elevations are often widespread colonizers of disturbed or successional habitats. A large number of species are restricted to very small ranges on islands or at higher elevations, often in more-mature forests on isolated tropical mountaintops.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
As the tree fern starch and leaves decompose, the water becomes rich with bacteria upon which larval mosquitoes feed.
Telephoto view into the forest of spatter blob that landed squarely on top of a tree fern.
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