Rootstock: slender, creeping, chaffy. Stems: brown, polished, forked at the summit. Leaves: obliquely-orbicular in outline; the pinnules oblong, the terminal one fan-shaped; the lower margin entire; the upper margin cleft, lobed or dentate, bearing the linear-oblong sori.

This graceful fern, which is too well-known to need much description, owes its specific name to the fact that the root-stock roots along its whole length. The Maidenhair is usually found in clefts among the rocks near running water, where its fragile, feathery fronds and glistening brown or black stalks are always treasure-trove.