Mostly terrestrial or rock crevice-dwelling ferns. Rhizome creeping, ascending or erect, scaly; scales papery, entire or toothed, glabrous, glandular or ciliate; teeth sometimes bifid. Fronds close together, often tufted, all alike in appearance or rarely dimorphic. Stipe with scales crowded near base, scattered above. Lamina thin-textured, simply pinnate to 3-pinnate; rachises and midribs rounded below, flattened above, usually grooved; veins pinnate or forking, free, uncommonly anastomosing and then without included veinlets. Sori round, J-shaped or linear, with a reniform to linear indusium, or indusium absent. Spores bilateral, reniform.
The family has recently been recircumscribed and now includes Athyriaceae (Smith et al. 2006).
Subcosmopolitan. About 15 genera, and c. 700 species (4 genera and 13 species in Australia).
Smith et al. (2006).
Created by: Val Stajsic
Updated by: Val Stajsic, March 2018