Phegopteris connectilis

Long Beech Fern

Long Beech Fern, Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium and Stephen L. Solheim
Long Beech Fern
Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium and Stephen L. Solheim

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Phegopteris, from the Greek, fhgos (phegos), "beech", and pteris (pteris), "fern"
  • connectilis, from the Latin, conecto, "to tie, bind, fasten, or join together; to connect or link together"
  • Common Name, from the Greek generic name. Beech does not grow in the North Country.
  • Other common names include Narrow Beech Fern, Northern Beech Fern, Marsh Fern, Phégoptéris Vulgaire, Phégoptère à Segments Joint, Fougère du Hêtre (Qué), Hultbräken (Swe), Hengjeveng (Nor), Skov-Dunbregne (Dan), Korpi-imarre (Fin), Þríhyrnuburkni (Is), Buchenfarn (Ger), Buglyospáfrány (Hun)


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Polypodiophyta, the True Ferns
      • Class Filicopsida
        • Order Polypodiales
          • Family Thelypteridaceae
            • Genus Phegopteris
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 504295
  • Also known as Dryopteris phegopteris, Lastrea phegopteris, Phegopteris polypodioides, Polypodium connectile, Polypodium phegopteris, Thelypteris phegopteris


  • A smaller, light green fern of cool, moist places.
  • Fronds monomorphic, deciduous, and solitary from creeping rhizome; leans backward; 4"-20" tall.
    • Petiole (leaf stalk) straw-colored, 6"-14", with light brown scales.
    • Blade narrowly to broadly triangular; usually somewhat longer (4"-10") than wide and tapering rapidly to narrow tip. Lowest pair of leaflets somewhat more widely spaced from the rest, and typically drooping down and out.
    • Rachis (axis) winged except for lowest pair of pinnae.
    • Pinnae nearly opposite and sessile (lacking stems), deeply cut but not all the way to the stem, with smooth edges.
  • Rootstalk long-creeping, slender, and branching.
    • Roots black, wiry, and branching; often quite numerous and growing deep into the soil.
  • Sori small, on underside of leaflet near edges; lacking indusium.


  • Unmistakeable due to its distinctive and easily observed drooping pair of lower leaflets.
  • Field Marks
    • shape of frond and backward leaning habit
    • light green to yellow green color
    • drooping lower pinnae (leaflets)


  • Circumboreal, Alaska to Newfoundland and Greenland, south to northern Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
  • Also Europe and Asia.


  • Boreal, wet temperate, and cool climates; frequency increasing with precipitation.
  • Moist, calcareous cliff crevices or moist banks in rich, damp forest floors.
  • Often associated with maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum).
  • An indicator of nitrogen-rich soils and friable forest floors.






  • Reproduces by spores and vegetatively by rhizomes


  • By rhizome division.


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Cultural Requirements
    • Shade
    • Moist, organic soil
  • Available by mail order from specialty suppliers.



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Last Updated on 26 February, 2004