Phegopteris connectilis
Common Name: beech fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Thelypteridaceae
Native Range: Northern Hemisphere
Zone: 2 to 5
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Best grown in consistently moist, humusy, organically rich, acidic soils in part shade to full shade. Best pale green color usually occurs in part shade. Soils should not be allowed to dry out. Spreads very slowly by runners from an erect rhizome. This is a fern of cool climates. It will not adapt to the heat and humidity of the deep South, and is not recommended for planting south of USDA Zone 5 or 6.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phegopteris connectilis, commonly known as narrow beech fern, is a deciduous fern that typically grows to 8-18” tall with a slow outward spread over time by creeping rhizomes to 36” wide. It is a circumboreal species which is native to moist woodland areas and stream banks in northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia. In the U.S., it is native from Alaska to Newfoundland and Greenland south to Oregon, Iowa, western Illinois, Michigan and in the Appalachians to North Carolina.

Narrow triangular blade is pinnate-pinnatifid to bipinnatifid extending to 14” long and 9” wide. Each leaflet is narrow triangular with a tapering tip. The bottom pair of leaflets is disjunct from the pair above it and is usually significantly downturned. Sori are located near the margins. No indusium (flap which usually covers the fern sori).

Thelypteris phegopteris and Dryopteris phegopteris are synonyms.

Genus name comes from the Greek words phegos meaning beech and pteris meaning fern in possible reference to the habitats of some species.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word connecto meaning to fasten together in probable reference to the lowest pair of disconnected leaflets.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Naturalize in woodland or shade gardens. Ground cover. Low edging plant. Shady parts of rock gardens.