The broad breech fern, scientifically known as Phegopteris hexagonoptera, is a common plant of the maiden fern family. It is a herbaceous flora that grows to the height of one to three feet. Like other ferns, it is not a flowering plant, but its aesthetic value is indisputable. Basically, the fern has fronds growing singly along the anchoring rhizome. The rhizome grows as a creeping feature, so the plant will fill in your garden quite well. The fronds are bi-pinnate and triangular in shape, and they have a bright-green color which can complement other plants. The green shade is retained throughout the growing season. This fern is native to the eastern parts of the United States as well as the adjacent Ontario region. However, it can be grown almost anywhere because of its general resilience. Ideally, the broad beech fern thrives exceptionally when the base soil is moist and well fertilized. The natural humus that is found in soil due to the decay of organic material like leaves is normally sufficient in ensuring good initial and continued growth. It will grow relatively rapidly in home gardens, and it does not require special care and maintenance to promote healthy development. In general, this fern is a perennial plant, so you can enjoy its long-term presence in your property.
Broad Beech Fern, scientific name Phegopteris hexagonoptera, is a broad leafed, non-flowering ground fern from the Marsh fern family (Thelypteridaceae)
native to forests, slopes and rocky outcroppings of the north eastern US. This perennial fern, also commonly called the Broad Beech Fern, at maturity, will reach a height of 1.5 to 2 feet and will spread to 1.5 or 2 feet in width. This fern prefers partial or full shade and grows best in medium to very moist acidic soil. They prefer a groundcover of natural mulch or dead leaves. The whole plant creates an urn-like shape, and its 1.5 to 2 foot long fronds extend into triangular arches. Each main frond is pinnated, or multi-divided into featherlike smaller leaves on either side. The leaves along the middle to the top of each frond display a more rounded or scalloped edge and are generally hairless, although some may feature occasional, sparse and tiny cilia. The middle to lower leaves and stalks of the fern will display a more hairy appearance. The Fern is a medium green color, although some leaves may range in color from pale green to rusty red. Small red to brown sori, or spore capsules, are formed on the undersides of the leaves. The seeds of the Beech Fern are spread by the wind during the summer months.
Botanical Latin Name: Phegopteris hexagonoptera (Thelypteris hexagonoptera)
Sun Exposure: Partial to Full Shade
Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Mature Height: 1.5 to 2 feet
Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet
Spacing: 9 to 12 inches
Growth Rate: Fast
Flowering Time: N/A
How Long It Flowers: N/A
Flower Color: N/A
Soil Requirements: Moist, lightly acidic, plenty of organic material
Pruning: Little Required
Foliage Form: The plant feather-like leaves or fronds, extending from the stem. Each leaf blade has 12-24 pairs of wings, or leaflets, extending from the stem. Each frond is fringed with lacy foliage, giving it a delicate, elegant appearance. Each strong stem bears a sail-like crop of angular leaves and leaflets, radiating out from the center. They are a bright, vivid green, eye-catching and lively. The leaves of this fern are about as long as they are wide, which is unusual in ferns. A quick-growing, herbaceous plant, the broad beech fern is ideal for decorative shade gardens, and is a well suited filler in flower beds.