Rootstock: short, stout, densely chaffy, bearing large brown scales. Leaves: rigid, leathery, linear-lanceolate in outline, once pinnate, pinnae broadly lanceolate, scythe-shaped, acute, strongly auricled on the upper side, spinulose-dentate. Sori: biseriate, at length subconfluent.

The Holly Fern has rigid evergreen leaves, each of the pinnae ending in a sharp point, and having a rounded lobe on the upper side at the base, the lower side having an almost straight edge. This fern is densely spiney-toothed.