Monthly Archives: January 2021

Narrow Beech Fern

 Marsh Fern family–Thelypteridaceae

Phegopteris connectilis (Michx.) Watt

(fayg-OP-ter-is kon-NEK-tih-lis)

Names: Narrow Beech Fern is also known asLong or Northern Beech Fern.Scientificsynonyms include: Thelyopteris phegopteris Dryopteris phegopteris, Phegopteris polypodioides, Polypodium connectile, and Polypodium phegopteris. Phegos means Oak in Greek, the corresponding term in Latin, Fagus, is applied to the Beech tree. Connectilis refers to how the base pair of pinnae are fused to the rachis.

Relationships: Phegopteris includes 5 species native to North America and Eurasia.  Two are found in the United States. 

Distribution of Lady Fern from USDA Plants Database
Distribution: Narrow Beech Fern is native in Europe and Western Asia, Canada and much of the Northern United States.  In the Pacific Northwest, it is found in Alaska, British Columbia, and 4 counties west of the Cascades in Washington & Douglas County, Oregon.  It is listed as endangered or threatened in several midwestern & eastern states.

Habitat: This species grows in moist to wet forests, streambanks, and shady, seepy cliff crevices.

Diagnostic Characters: Narrow Beech Fern resembles Oak Fern, but is larger, to 40 cm, and a darker green, with long, triangular fronds.  The main pinnae are at right angles to the rachis, but the lowest pair of pinnae usually angle or droop downward. 

In the Landscape: Hitchcock thought this was perhaps the best ornamental species of our Marsh Ferns.


USDA Plants Database

Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria

WTU Herbarium Image Collection, Plants of Washington, Burke Museum

E-Flora BC, Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia


Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center