Terrestrial or hemiepiphytic ferns. Rhizome long- or short-creeping, or erect, covered with scales, at least at rhizome apex. Fronds tufted or distant along rhizome; stipe not articulated at rhizome, usually much shorter than lamina. Lamina 1-pinnate, often dimorphic, fertile pinnae narrower; veins free. Sori superficial or submarginal at vein endings; spores bilateral.
4 genera, mostly pantropical, 2 in Australia, 1 naturalised in Victoria.
The placement of the genus Nephrolepis is unclear. It has previously been included in Davalliaceae (Bell 1998), and in its own monogeneric family Nephrolepidaceae. Molecular evidence suggests Nephrolepis is better placed in Lomariopsidaceae. Within Lomariospidaceae, Nephrolepis forms a monophyletic group and may warrant recognition in its own family (Smith et al. 2006).