Dryopteridaceae - Wood ferns
Photo: P. Ballings
Description of the family
Terrestrial, rarely lithophythic or low-level epiphytic ferns. Rhizome creeping, short-decumbent, suberect or erect, often laterally branched, often stoloniferous. Fronds monomorphic or dimorphic. Stipe not articulated. Lamina 2-pinnatifid to 4-pinnate. Lower pinnae often basiscopically developed. Veins free or anastomosing, with or without included veinlets, mostly ending near the margin. Indumentum composed of bracts occurring on rhizome, axes and lamina, also with glands or hairs occurring along the axes and lamina surfaces. Sori superficial, circular or elongate, dorsal or at the veins ending, with or without a peltate or reniform indusium or exindusiate.
Comment: Previously known as Aspidiaceae, but this is an illegitimate name.
Worldwide: ± 35 genera and ± 1000 species, cosmopolitan distribution.