Phegopteris hexagonoptera

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: broad beech fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Thelypteridaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Tolerate: Rabbit


Best grown in humusy, acidic, medium to wet, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Spreads by creeping rhizomes and can become somewhat aggressive in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phegopteris hexagonoptera, commonly called broad beech fern, is a deciduous, Missouri-native fern which occurs in dry or rich woods, ravines and rocky wooded slopes primarily in the Ozark region of the State. An urn-shaped fern that features broad (as the common name suggests), arching, triangular, medium green fronds 1.5 to 2' long and as wide. Fronds are once divided with the pinnae deeply cut. Unlike many other ferns, the sterile and fertile fronds of this broad beech fern are very similar in appearance. Indusium (flap which usually covers sori) in this species is not present. Formerly known and still sold by many nurseries as Thelypteris hexagonoptera.

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 means six-angled wings.


No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs may visit the plants, especially in early summer. Can spread aggressively.


Woodland gardens, shade gardens, native plant gardens or wild gardens.