Trunk base frequently covered in a mat of dark, adventitious roots, while upper portion obscured by persistent stipe bases or scars. Stipes flattened above, basal portion brown to blackish, rough or spiny (from projections remaining after scales shed), covered in shiny scales. Fronds up to 5 m long, 2–3-pinnate, membranous to leathery; veins not anastomosing. Sori globular and conspicuous; indusium cup-shaped or comprising a ring of hairs or scales, sometimes obscure. Spores tetrahedral, without pores.
Almost 700 species; 12 occurring in Australia, 5 in Victoria.