Description from Flora of China
Athyrium spinosissimum Ching; A. tianzishanense S. F. Wu & L. F. Zhang; A. yindeense Ching.
Rhizomes short, erect, apex densely clothed with brown, lanceolate scales. Fronds caespitose; fertile fronds (23-)50-80 cm; stipe blackish brown, upward green-stramineous, 15-25(-32) cm, 2-3 mm in diam. at base, base similarly scaly, upward glabrate; lamina 2-pinnate-pinnatifid, oblong-lanceolate, 30-45 × 12-22 cm at middle, base slightly narrowed, rounded, apex acuminate; pinnae 15-18 pairs, several pairs of lower pinnae subopposite; upper pinnae alternate, ascending, with stalk 1-3 mm, basal 1 or 2 pairs of pinnae slightly shortened, base hardly narrowed; middle pinnae lanceolate, 8-11 × ca. 3 cm at base, base equilateral, rounded-truncate, pinnate, apex long acuminate; pinnules 15(-20) pairs, basal pinnules opposite, upper pinnules alternate, ascending; basal pinnules larger, oblong-lanceolate, 1.6-2 × ca. 1 cm at base, base inequilateral, truncate, parallel to costa, somewhat auriculate on acroscopic side, cuneate on basiscopic side, pinnatifid 1/3-1/2 to costa, apex obtuse-acute; acroscopic pinnule segments larger, oblique, with few short dentate teeth at apex; upper pinnules similar to basal pinnules but gradually smaller, base decurrent and connate to each other by wing of costa; veins somewhat visible adaxially, visible abaxially, pinnate in pinnules, lateral veins 5-7 pairs, oblique, lower veins forked, upper veins simple. Lamina thinly herbaceous when dried, grass-green, glabrate on both surfaces; rachis and costae stramineous, sparsely glandular hairy abaxially, with needlelike spines on adaxial side of rachis, costae, and costules; scaly bulbils usually 1 per frond, borne in upper portion of rachis. Sori oblong or shortly linear, lateral on acroscopic veins, costular, 1 per segment, 1 or 2 pairs in basal acroscopic segments; indusia brownish, oblong or shortly linear, membranous, entire, persistent. Perispore surface without folds.
● Damp areas in forests, streamsides; 200-1700 m. Chongqing, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan.