Description from Flora of China
Rhizomes slender, creeping, 1-2 mm in diam., with sparse dark brown ovate-lanceolate scales. Fronds distant; fertile fronds 10-25 cm; stipe stramineous, 5-15 cm, ca. 1 mm in diam., base with sparse dark brown lanceolate scales, upward glabrate; lamina pinnate, ovate-oblong, 6-13 × 4-6 cm, apex acuminate; lower pinnae narrowly lanceolate, ascending, sessile, pinnatipartite, basal acroscopic pinna segments slightly larger; pinna segments 5-10 pairs, subopposite, slightly ascending, oblong, toothed at margin; veins pinnate in segments. Lamina herbaceous when dried, green, glabrate, with needlelike spines on adaxial side at base of costule, midrib, and lateral veins. Sori lateral on base of midribs; indusia erose at margin. Perispore surface without folds.
Athyrium chingianum is somewhat similar to A. nigripes in the shape of lamina. It is frequently sympatric with A. yui, which is also morphologically similar to it, but is different in the rhizomes long creeping, pinnae longer, fewer (6-10 pairs), and sori not close to costae at pinnae, but often leaning on midribs of segments.
● Shrub groves, evergreen broad-leaved forest margins; 3000-3700 m. Yunnan.