The Rough Maidenhair Fern is a terrestrial fern whose short rhizomes have runners and fine rootlets.
It is covered with pale or dark brown, triangular scales attached at their base.
Frond stalks are up to 30 to 40 cm long and the lamina up to 30 cm long.
The rough stalks are black or very dark brown, with reddish hairs all over and scales at the base.
The lamina midribs have similar stiff hairs.
The lamina is forked a few times at the base and the end branches are once divided.
The lateral leaflets or pinnules are on short stalks, and up to 13 x 5 mm.
They have a straight lower margin and the upper margin has small lobes or teeth.
There are white hairs on the leaflets.
There is one vein along the lower, straight leaflet edge with forked side veins running to the upper margin.
The sori are protected by a circular or kidney-shaped flap of the leaflet edge which folds over to
form a soral flap or false indusium.
It has stiff, dark brown hairs on it.
Spores are brown.
There is a lot of variation between populations of this fern and the species is sometimes divided
into 4 subgroups based on the extremes of the variations.