Stems forming a stout caudex covered with petiole bases, suberect; scales light brown, many, lanceolate-attenuate. Leaves monomorphic, evergreen, numerous in vaselike cluster, 40-170 cm. Petiole straw-colored, sometimes reddish at base; base thickened, with densely set orange scales. Blade pale green, elliptic-lanceolate, 25-100 cm, scaly-glandular upon emergence but soon glabrate. Pinnae not articulate to rachis, in 8-24 pairs, narrowly deltate to lanceolate, pinnatifid; proximal to middle pinnae 12-42 × 2.5-8 cm. Veins anastomosing to form single row of areoles, then free to margin. Sori short and broad, mostly curved and confined to costular areoles, deeply sunken into blades. Indusia cartilaginous and vaulted; cells thickened, retaining configuration after dehiscence of sporangia. 2n = 68.
Habitat: Redwood forests, mixed conifer forests, and mixed conifer-hardwood forests, always where moisture is present, such as stream banks or springs
Elevation: 0-1000 m
B.C., Ariz., Calif., Nev., Oreg., Wash., Mexico in n Baja California.
Woodwardia fimbriata is confined primarily to the California floristic province; it is disjunct and local elsewhere.