Approximately 35 species of epiphytic ferns from Macronesia, South Africa, Madagascar and especially in southern Asia and Pacific Islands. They have branching, thickly scaly-hairy rhizomes and finely dissected long-stalked leaves. The sori are set into the leaf margins and with their covering indusia appear like tiny pockets.
Mainly a tropical or warm temperate genus, but the following species are worth growing in the alpine house in hanging baskets or on slabs of bark. A free-draining compost is essential, composed of milled bark or the plastic chips used for orchid growing, plus leafmould or a peat substitute, and gritty sand. Water is best supplied with a sprayer and dilute liquid feed once a month during the summer. Partial shade is best but full light is tolerated. Propagation by removing rhizomes and pinning them to new compost, ideally in spring just before new growth starts, but late summer for the summer dormant D. canariense. Spores may by sown in spring.