Terrestrial, or rarely, epiphytic ferns. Rhizome long- or short-creeping, or erect, covered in non-latticed scales. Fronds tufted along rhizome; stipe not articulated to rhizome, grooved, base covered in scales. Lamina simple or pinnately compound, pinnae asymmetric; rachises grooved with prominent lateral ridges; veins free or netted. Sori borne away from margin; indusium usually present, centrally attached and round, or radially attached and kidney-shaped; spores bilateral.
About 20 genera, cosmopolitan; 8 represented in Australia, 4 in Victoria.
The illegitimate name 'Aspidiaceae' has been used for this family in the past.