Description from Flora of China
Plants terrestrial or epilithic, small to medium-sized, sometimes large. Rhizome long or shortly creeping, ascending or erect, rarely short treelike, dictyostelic, scaly; scales entire or toothed, tooth consisting of 2 adjacent upturned ends of marginal cells, basifixed, rarely pseudopeltate. Stipe supplied by 2 vascular strands with xylem seahorse-shaped in cross section and upward united into U-shaped strand, scaly, also hairy or glabrate, hairs unicellular or multicellular, glandular or eglandular. Rachis, costae, and costules grooved adaxially, grooves of costae and costules confluent to those of lower order frond axes or interrupted by ridges between grooves, scaly, hairy, or glabrate; hairs unicellular or multicellular, glandular or eglandular; spines continued from ridges, or short fleshy projections in grooves, at base of costae, costules, and midribs adaxially, or spines and projections absent. Lamina variously dissected, simple to 3-pinnate, pinnatifid or with terminal pinna similar to lateral pinnae, apex narrowed. Veins free or anastomosing with polygonal areoles or with successive veins from adjacent midribs united to excurrent veins between 2 rows of rhomboid areoles. Sori various, linear, J-shaped, horseshoe-shaped, orbicular-reniform, or orbicular, indusiate or exindusiate; indusia inferior entirely or proximally to receptacle, or lateral, various in shape, sack-shaped, cup-shaped, saucer-shaped, platelike, elongate, J-shaped, horseshoe-shaped, or orbicular-reniform. Spores bilateral, ellipsoid, covered by perispore.
Of the genera recognized in FRPS (3(2): 32-504. 1999), Rhachidosorus and Diplaziopsis were recently segregated as families Rhachidosoraceae and Diplaziopsidaceae, respectively. Athyriaceae s.s. or subfamily Athyrioideae comprise Anisocampium (including Kuniwatsukia), Athyrium (including Pseudocystopteris), Cornopteris (including Neoathyrium), Deparia (including Athyriopsis, Dictyodroma, Dryoathyrium, and Lunathyrium), and Diplazium (including Allantodia, Callipteris, and Monomelangium). Subfamily Cystopteridoideae was raised to family Cystopteridaceae.
Wang Zhong-ren, Chu Wei-ming, He Zhao-rong & Hsieh Yin-tang. 1999. Athyriaceae (excluding Acystopteris, Cystoathyrium, Cystopteris, Diplaziopsis, Gymnocarpium, and Rhachidosorus). In: Chu Wei-ming, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 3(2): 32-511.
Five genera and ca. 600 species: worldwide from tropical to frigid zones of both hemispheres; five genera and 278 species (135 endemic) in China.
(Authors: Wang Zhongren (王中仁), He Zhaorong (和兆荣); Masahiro Kato)