Description from Flora of China
Pteris sect. Histiopteris J. Agardh, Recens. Spec. Pter. 76. 1839.
Plants terrestrial, climbing. Rhizome thick and long creeping, vascular system a corrugate solenostele, densely clothed with lanceolate, thick, castaneous-brown scales. Fronds sparse, large, indeterminate; stipe reddish castaneous, shiny, long, terete, glabrous; costae same as stipes in color, slightly grooved adaxially; lamina 2- or 3-pinnate, triangular, papery to subleathery, glabrous, basally usually pallid; pinnae opposite, often sessile; pinnules at base a pair, auricle-like; pinnules opposite; venation reticulate, without included veinlets. Sori along margin of lamina, with collecting vein near margin, protected by a narrowly linear false indusium formed by a membranous margin, paraphyses present, without velum; indusia long stalked and annulus composed of 18 thick-walled cells; spores dihedral, oblong to reniform, hyaline, with prominent wart. x = 12.
Histiopteris is morphologically similar to Pteris but molecular data indicates that this similarity is superficial and that Histiopteris belongs to the Dennstaedtiaceae. It differs from Pteris by the long-creeping rhizome, with bristlelike, chestnut-brown scales; proliferous apex of the lamina; opposite pinnae and pinnules, and pinna bases with a pair of reduced, auricle-like pinnules; all veins anastomosing, and forming a row of narrow areoles on both sides of the costules; and dihedral, hyaline spores.
About seven species: widely distributed in pantropical regions, southward to the Cape of Good Hope of Africa, Australia (Tasmania), and islands near Antarctica; sometimes those species treated as one species; one species in China.
(Authors: Liao Wenbo (廖文波), Ding Mingyan (丁明艳), Wu Zhaohong (吴兆洪 Wu Shiew-hung); Jefferson Prado)