Plants terrestrial, 10-300 cm tall. Rhizome erect or ascending to creeping, short or long, stout or slender, scaly at apex; rhizome and basal stipe scales brown, linear or lanceolate, margins entire, finely toothed, or ciliate, membranous. Stipe yellow, brown, or black, scaly at base or sometimes throughout. Fronds tufted or approximate, monomorphic to strongly dimorphic, simple or pinnate to 4 times pinnate-pinnatifid, often triangular or pentagonal, usually decompound toward apices; rachises and costae usually (in most genera) covered with articulate multicellular (ctenitoid) hairs; veins free or variously anastomosing, included veinlets if present simple or forked. Sori terminal on included free veins, dorsal on veins or compital on (at intersection of) connected veins, usually orbicular, sometimes elongate, anastomosing in lines, in some species throughout abaxial surface of lamina when mature, indusiate or exindusiate; indusia if present orbicular-reniform, persistent or caducous. Spores ovoid or elliptic, monolete, perispore with winglike folds, cristate, echinate, verrucose, rugose, or spinose. n = 10, 40, 41.