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Phegopteris hexagonoptera (Broad beechfern)
Bloodworth, Stefan

Phegopteris hexagonoptera

Phegopteris hexagonoptera (Michx.) Fée

Broad Beechfern, Broad Beech Fern

Thelypteridaceae (Marsh Fern Family)

Synonym(s): Dryopteris hexagonoptera, Thelypteris hexagonoptera

USDA Symbol: PHHE11

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Fronds of the broad beech fern occur singly along a creeping rhizome and are 1-2+ ft. long, twice-pinnate, and broadly triangular, holding a bright-green color throughout the entire growing season. The lowermost, two pinnae point downward. Along the rachis (the central axis found within the blade portion of the fern) is a conspicuous wing - an extension of the green, leafy material.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Fronds up to about 30 inches long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON , QC
Native Distribution: Que. & ME to Ont. & s.e. MN, s. to n. FL & TX
Native Habitat: Moist, undisturbed, hardwood forests

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, acid, humus-rich soil.
Conditions Comments: Broad beech fern spreads rapidly. It dies back in the winter and when it receives too much sun.


Description: Propagate by spores or rhizome division.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Phegopteris hexagonoptera in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Phegopteris hexagonoptera in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Phegopteris hexagonoptera


Record Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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