Description: Epiphytic or growing on rocks, rarely terrestrial; rhizome usually long-creeping, short-creeping in a few genera, covered with scales; stipes generally articulated to the rhizome.
Fronds uniform to distinctly dimorphic, vernation circinate; lamina simple, pinnatifid, pinnate or dichotomously branched, glabrous or covered with peltate or stellate scales; veins anastomosing, often with free vein endings in the reticulations, rarely free.
Sori without indusium, circular or elongated or covering whole, or portions of, the fertile frond.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 20–50 genera, c. 1000 species cosmopolitan. Australia: 11 genera, 28 or 29 species, all States except S.A.
Text by Peter G. Wilson
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Fronds of two kinds, sterile, papery `nest leaves' and much-divided fertile fronds||2|
|Fronds either of one kind or if dimorphic then `nest leaves' never present and fertile fronds simple or rarely divided||3|
|2||Bracket epiphytes, rhizome short-creeping; sterile fronds broad, ± circular and overlapping; fertile fronds dichotomously divided||Platycerium|
|Epiphytic or found growing on rocks, rhizome creeping; sterile fronds longer than broad, alternating with the fertile fronds; fertile fronds pinnate|
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|3||Fronds with lamina covered with appressed, persistent, stellate hairs; rhizome scales not clathrate||Pyrrosia|
|Fronds with lamina lacking stellate hairs; rhizome scales clathrate|
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|4||Sori elongate, covering the surface of the very narrow, tail-like apical portion of the fertile frond; fronds regularly dimorphic, lamina simple or sometimes forked into 2 at the apex||Belvisia|
|Sori circular or ovate, never confluent; fronds not markedly dimorphic, lamina simple or pinnatifid|
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|5||Stipe distinct, at least 3 cm long; fronds variable from simple to pinnatifid, reticulations of the lamina with conspicuous, free, included veinlets||Microsorum|
|Stipe very short or absent; fronds always simple, reticulations of the lamina lacking free, included veinlets|
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