Phegopteris hexagonoptera

Phegopteris hexagonoptera (Michx.) Fee,
(Greek: hex, six, gonio, angle or corner, and pteron, wing or feather, = 6-angled wing, apparently in reference to the shape of the wings along the rachis)

Local names: broad beech fern, southern beech fern

Rhizomes long-creeping; leaves monomorphic, dying back in winter; leaf blades 2–3 pinnatifid near base, less divided distally, broadest at base, triangular in outline, ca. as wide as long, usually 7–25(–30) cm long, the lower surface with moderate to dense, non-septate short hairs (usually 0.1–0.25 mm long) on costae and veins; proximal pinnae longest, narrowed basally; basal veins of adjacent ultimate leaf segments reaching segment margins or nearly so above the sinus between segments; rachis conspicuously and irregularly winged between pinnae (wing tissue extended as obvious lobes in some places); midveins of pinnae not grooved on upper side (vs. grooved in Thelypteris); sori round, submarginal; indusia absent; 2n = 60 (Smith 1993a). Moist wooded areas, margins of bogs, ravines along streams, often in acidic soils; Marion (Orzell & Bridges 4941, BRIT, TEX-LL), Newton (Allen et al. 21363, BRIT), Sabine (E. Fritz 326879, McVaugh 8435, BRIT), Shelby (BAYLU, Bridges & Orzell 5121, TEX-LL), Rusk (Bridges & Ozell 6258, TEX-LL), and San Augustine (Correll & Correll 24887, TEX-LL; Palmer 1919c) cos. in the e Pineywoods; se Canada and throughout the e U.S. w to MN, OK, and TX. Sporulating summer and fall. [Dryopteris hexagonoptera (Michx.) C. Chr., Polypodium hexagonopterum Michx., Thelypteris hexagonoptera (Michx.) Nieuwl.] The winged rachis is very helpful in identification. Correll (1956) considered this species to be “rare” in TX. Given this species’ rareness and limited distribution in the state, we consider it to be of conservation concern in TX.

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