The fern is common in dunes, in forests on sandy soils, on walls and at the base of oaks. It grows to about 30 cm.
The root of the oak fern is eaten and has a bittersweet flavour. It is sometimes used to flavour nougat as the root contains a sweetener. It is a laxative and anthelmintic. The bitter substances in the root provide a bile-driving effect. This results in the liver receiving more juices to digest food. In addition, the plant promotes coughing up mucus, which helps with chronic bronchitis.