Plants mostly terrestrial or epilithic, some epiphytic, rarely aquatic (Ceratopteris), small to large. Rhizomes erect, ascending, or creeping, siphonostelic, solenostelic, or dictyostelic, usually scaly, rarely with bristles; scales brown or black, sometimes clathrate and iridescent, lanceolate to cordate, sometimes peltate, margin usually entire. Fronds mostly monomorphic, less often dimorphic or subdimorphic, clustered to widely scattered, not articulate; stipe well defined, dark, often glossy, to ill defined and green, terete or adaxially grooved, glabrous, hairy, or scaly, with 1-4 vascular bundles (or to many in Ceratopteris) near base, combining distally; lamina entire or 1-4-pinnate to 5-pinnate-pinnatifid, less often digitate, pedate, or 1-3 dichotomous with pedate branches; ultimate pinnules often stalked, sometimes articulate, herbaceous, papery, or leathery, more rarely membranous or fleshy; veins free or anastomosing, if anastomosing then areoles without free included veinlets. Sori mostly confluent along veins or marginal commissures, sometimes immersed in grooves, less often discrete on vein tips or on recurved membranous marginal lobe (false indusium), sometimes acrostichoid or rarely forming a narrow longitudinal band between midrib and margin (Taenitis); true indusium absent, marginal sori often protected by false indusium formed from revolute lamina margin. Sporangia usually long stalked, annulus vertical or rarely oblique, interrupted by stalk. Spores mostly brown, yellowish, or colorless, mostly tetrahedral-globose and trilete, rarely ellipsoid and monolete, smooth or ornamented, sometimes with an equatorial flange. Mostly x = 29, 30.
About 50 genera and 950 species: subcosmopolitan, but most numerous in tropics and arid regions; 20 genera and 233 species (89 endemic, one introduced) in five subfamilies in China.
Ching Ren-chang, Fu Shu-hsia, Wang Chu-hao & Shing Gung-hsia. 1959. Taenitis. In: Ching Ren-chang, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 2: 279-280; Lin Youxing. 1990. Adiantaceae and Parkeriaceae. In: Ching Renchang & Shing Kunghsia, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 3(1): 173-216, 274-278; Shing Kunghsia. 1990. Acrostichaceae and Hemionitidaceae. In: Ching Renchang & Shing Kunghsia, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 3(1): 92-94, 216-274, 279; Shing Kunghsia & Wu Sukung. 1990. Sinopteridaceae (excluding Cheilosoria and Notholaena). In: Ching Renchang & Shing Kunghsia, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 3(1): 97-173; Wu Shiewhung. 1990. Pteridaceae (excluding Histiopteris). In: Ching Renchang & Shing Kunghsia, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 3(1): 10-89; Zhang Xian-chun. 1999. Antrophyaceae and Vittariaceae. In: Chu Wei-ming, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 3(2): 1-31.