The Dryopteridales are the Wood ferns and Sword ferns. Their segregation as a discrete order is well-supported by modern genetic evidence. They are widespread in temperate and tropical zones, with a few genera adapted to mountain climates.
All ferns in Dryopteridales have scaly rhizomes and stipes. They may have either crowned or shortly-creeping rhizomes.
Dryopteris is from the Greek, drus (drys), "oak", and pteris (pteris), "fern", meaning "fern of the oak wood".