Description from Flora of China
Rhizomes short, erect, apex densely clothed with dark brown, linear-lanceolate scales. Fronds caespitose; fertile fronds (30-)45-60 cm; stipe blackish brown, upward pale stramineous, (20-)25-30 cm, (1-)2.5-3 mm in diam., base densely clothed with scales, upward glabrate; lamina lower part pinnate-pinnatifid to 2-pinnate, apical part pinnatipartite, deltoid-ovate or ovate-oblong, sometimes lanceolate in small plants, (22-)25-35 × (8-)20-25 cm at base, apex abruptly narrowed, long acuminate; pinnae 5-8 pairs, alternate, ascending, stalked (stalk 2-6 mm), broadly lanceolate, 3-15 × (1.2-)3-3.5 cm at middle, base truncate, pinnate, apex obtuse to long acuminate; pinnules 10-14 pairs, alternate, ascending, sessile, oblong, ca. 2 cm × 8 mm, slightly narrowed toward apex, base inequilateral, truncate, slightly auriculate on acroscopic side, decurrent on basiscopic side, margin serrulate, apex acute or subobtuse; upper pinnae sessile, oblong, base truncate or rounded-cuneate on acroscopic side, slightly decurrent on basiscopic side, apex acute or obtuse; middle pinnae pinnatilobate; veins visible abaxially, somewhat visible adaxially, pinnate in pinnules, lateral veins ca. 8 pairs, oblique, forked, but pinnate in basal acroscopic lobe (second basal veins 3-forked). Lamina papery when dried, pale brown, glabrate; rachis stramineous, sparsely scaly; costae and costules pale purple on abaxial surface, with dense brownish short glandular hairs or glabrate. Sori oblong or shortly linear, ca. 5 pairs per pinnule, inframedial, biseriate on both sides of costule; indusia brownish, oblong or shortly linear, membranous, entire, persistent. Perispore surface without folds. 2n = 160.
Athyrium wardii differs from related species in the lamina deltoid or deltoid-ovate with abruptly narrowed apex; the pinnae ca. 5 pairs below cuspidate apex; the lower pinnules of basal pinnae shortened; the pinnules of middle pinnae ascending, oblong, inequilateral, auriculate only at acroscopic base, ca. 8 mm wide, serrate; and the costae densely pubescent on abaxial side.
Valley forests, streamsides, damp areas; 500-1900(-3600) m. Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Japan, Korea].