Terrestrial ferns, often forming dense thickets in open habitats. Rhizome long-creeping, branched, usually sparsely clothed with hairs or scales. Fronds once or several times pinnate, repeatedly branched, apparently dichotomous but each fork includes a dormant, hairy or scaly leaf apex which only sometimes develops. Sori of 1–15 large sporangia, without indusium; annulus transverse or oblique; spore numerous. Gametophyte elongate and large, cordate, green, associated with fungus.
Cosmopolitan, 5 genera from tropical and temperate areas; 4 genera in Australia, 2 in Victoria.