Small, floating aquatics with creeping stems, branched, bearing hairs on the leaf surface papillae but no true roots. Leaves are in trimerous whorls, with two leaves green, sessile or short-petioled, flat, entire and floating, and one leaf finely dissected, petiolate, rootlike and pendent. Submerged leaves bearing sori that are surrounded by basifixed membranous indusia (sporocarps). They bear sporocarps of two types, either megasporangia that are few in number (approximately 10), each with single megaspore, or many microsporangia, each with 64 microspores. Spores are of two kinds and sizes, both globose, trilete. Megagametophytes and microgametophytes protruding through sporangium wall; megagametophytes floating on water surface with archegonia directed downward; microgametophytes remaining fixed to sporangium wall. The small, hairlike growths, known as trichomes or microgametical follicles, are not known to have any productive function, and are currently a biological mystery.