Plants 2–120 cm. Stems 1–10 mm diam., sparsely scaly. Leaves erect. Proximal leaves broad, simple and lobed to 4-pinnate, glabrous; distal leaves finely dissected with linear ultimate segments. Sporangia nearly sessile, usually densely packed, globose. Spores tetrahedral.
Tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions worldwide.
Species 3–4 (3 in the flora).
|1||Sterile leaves simple, palmately or pinnately lobed, sometimes 2–4-pinnate, deltate to cordate to ovate; proximal pinnae or veins of lobes usually opposite; petioles frequently inflated. Fertile leaves usually deltate to cordate to reniform; sporangia lacking annulus or annulus well developed, indurate cells 0–10(–40).||Ceratopteris pteridoides|
|1||Sterile leaves (1–)2–3-pinnate, lanceolate, lance-ovate, ovate to deltate; proximal pinnae usually alternate; petioles usually not inflated. Fertile leaves lanceolate, sometimes ovate, deltate, or cordate; sporangia with well-developed annulus, indurate cells 13–71.||> 2|
|2||Sporangia with 32 spores.||Ceratopteris thalictroides|
|2||Sporangia with 16 spores.||Ceratopteris richardii|