Basket ferns are epiphytic (growing on trees) or epipetric (growing on rocks and brick walls).
Basket ferns are characterized by the presence of two types of fronds, fertile foliage fronds and sterile nest fronds. The dark green foliage fronds are large, 2-4 feet (0.61-1.22 m) long, with elongated stalks. They are deeply lobed or pinnate, winged, and bear sori (structures producing and containing spores) on the bottom surfaces.
The nest fronds are smaller rounded leaves basal to the foliage fronds. They do not bear sori and are persistent, not being shed after turning brown and dying. They form a characteristic 'basket' that collect litter and organic debris, hence the common name.