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broad beech fern

broad beech fern (Phegopteris hexagonoptera)
Photo © John Hilty

Features and Behaviors

The broad beech fern has a large triangular frond that may be more than 24 inches long and about 15 inches wide at the base. The green frond leans back from the upright stipe. This plant dies back to the ground after the first frost. All the leaflets are winged (have a broad connection) at the rachis. Each leaflet is widest near its middle. The rachis is green with white scales. The stipe is about 16 inches long, yellow-brown on the top and darker below.

The broad beech fern may be found statewide in Illinois. It grows in sunny spots, usually not around rocks or running water, in upland woods. Spore production occurs from June through September.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Thelypteridaceae

Illinois Status: common, native