Terrestrial ferns, sometimes scrambling or creeping, with fronds that fork into two at each division; occasionally grown mostly near water. Rhizome long-creeping, thin, usually with scattered hairs or scales. Fronds divided 1-several times, branching in a series of paired divisions; veins free. Ultimate segments mostly roundish or linear. Sori round, of 1-12 long sporangia, never at the end of a vein. Indusia absent.
5 genera with c. 160 species, cosmopolitan (4 genera with 11 species in Australia).
Fronds branching repeatedly into two. Gleichenia has minute frond segments. The genus Sticherus, which has 3 species native to Australia, has linear segments and is quite common in the wild but is not generally cultivated; the colony-forming S. tener (R. Br.) Ching, Silky Fan Fern, from NSW, Vic. and Tas. is occasionally sold.
Source: (1995). Gleicheniaceae. 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.