Plant DetailShow Menu

Southern Beech Fern Phegopteris hexagonoptera

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Dryopteris hexagonoptera
  • Thelypteris hexagonoptera
Phonetic Spelling
fay-GOP-ter-iss heks-uh-gon-OP-ter-uh
Description

Broad Beech Fern is a native fern that prefers moist, rich, well-drained, acidic soils in partial to deep shade.  However, it can sometimes be found in sunny open areas with dry or semi-moist soil. The deciduous leaves are produced directly from the shallow rhizomes in spring and it can spread rapidly and become weedy. The fronds of this plant are 10-30" long and spread out in rows or loose clusters. Blades are up to 13" long, are approximately the same width, and are most often 2-pinnatifid. The fronds are a dull green color, slightly hairy on the lower surface, broadly triangular and tilt backwards. There are 12 or more almost opposite pairs of pinna that are tapered at both ends, the lowest pair larger, broader and often point downward. All the pinnae are connected along the rachis by a narrow wing of blade tissue. The lowest pair of pinnae are often narrowed at the base.  In the fall, the fronds turn pale yellow.

This is a medium-sized attractive plant that can be used in moist woodland and naturalized areas in a shady native garden. Forms colonies. 

VIDEO Created by NC State Extension's Homegrown series featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#partial shade#heat tolerant#heavy shade#acidic soil#wildlife plant#partial sun#deep shade#shade tolerant#weedy#native perennial#piedmont#shade garden#spores#fronds#fern#low maintenance#rabbit resistant#mass planting#coastal#small mammals#moist soil#fast growing#NC native#well-drained soil#deer resistant#small and large mammals#native garden#mountains#coastal plant#colonies#woodland#coastal areas#borders#acidic soil tolerant#agressive#native fern#naturalized area#fantz#summer fruits#food source summer#spring fruits#food source spring#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains FAC#wet soils tolerant#fruits#native#mammals#full shade#Coastal FACU#food source mid-summer#fruit#part sun#part shade#wildlife plants#wildlife#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#partial shade#heat tolerant#heavy shade#acidic soil#wildlife plant#partial sun#deep shade#shade tolerant#weedy#native perennial#piedmont#shade garden#spores#fronds#fern#low maintenance#rabbit resistant#mass planting#coastal#small mammals#moist soil#fast growing#NC native#well-drained soil#deer resistant#small and large mammals#native garden#mountains#coastal plant#colonies#woodland#coastal areas#borders#acidic soil tolerant#agressive#native fern#naturalized area#fantz#summer fruits#food source summer#spring fruits#food source spring#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains FAC#wet soils tolerant#fruits#native#mammals#full shade#Coastal FACU#food source mid-summer#fruit#part sun#part shade#wildlife plants#wildlife#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Phegopteris
    Species:
    hexagonoptera
    Family:
    Thelypteridaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and U.S.A.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy shade, Rabbits and deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Native Plant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces via spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Deltoid
    Ovate
    Pinnatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Dentate
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Bright green 1.5 to 2-foot fronds have a similar width, are twice-pinnate, and are broadly triangular. Each frond has 12-20 pairs of leaflets, hairy on the underside, that are joined together at their bases by a winged rachis. Leaflets are pinnatifid with 8-20 pairs of lobes. The 2 lower leaflets point downward. The reddish-brown sori are located on the undersides of the leaflet lobes. The fronds turn a pale yellow in the fall. Strongly triangular leaf blade.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Light green to reddish-green stems are terete and glabrous. May have scales near the base.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heat
    Heavy Shade
    Rabbits
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy