Greek nephros - kidney, lepis - scale; referring to the kidney-shaped indusia.
Mostly fast-growing terrestrial or epiphytic ferns with many cultivars. Rhizome erect or creeping and sometimes long, thin and stoloniferous with tubers; scaly. Sterile and fertile fronds similar. Fronds divided once (except in cultivars), mostly scaly and sometimes with hair; veins free. Stalk with feathery scales. Segments hardly stalked, often with an 'ear' at the base. Sori inside the margin in a single row at the end of veins. Indusia roundish to kidney-shaped or continuous.
A highly variable genus with species that sometimes intergrade. Nephrolepis obliterata (R. Br.) Sm. from Australia and New Guinea is sometimes sold but confused with N. cordifolia. The former does not have tubers, has segments mostly more than 4 cm long with no lobing at the base and sori close to the segment margins. This genus includes one of the most commonly cultivated outdoor ferns, N. cordifolia, Fishbone Fern, which has invasive stolons and the tendency to spread and become weedy; also the popular hanging basket fern N. exaltata, Boston Fern and its many cultivars.
c. 40 species mostly from the tropics (7 species in Australia, 6 of which occur in Queensland).
Division or spores (commercially by tissue culture).
Fronds mostly divided once with kidney-shaped indusia near the margins of the segments.
Source: (1995). Davalliaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.