Description from Flora of China
Alsophila podophylla var. procumbens Tutcher; A. rheosora Baker; Cyathea bonii Christ; C. podophylla (Hooker) Copeland; Gymnosphaera podophylla (Hooker) Copeland.
Trunk erect, 1-3 m tall or to several meters. Stipes persistent, forming irregular skirt around trunk, purple to purple-black, glossy, base of stipe thick, with short spines, warts, and scales; scales lustrous, dark brown, narrow, lanceolate, stiff, margin paler, irregular, often setose, ca. 1.5 cm × 1.8 mm; lamina 1-pinnate at young age to 2-pinnate, 1-2 m; abaxial side of rachis and costa scabrous, with brown scales; pinnae alternate, spreading, with stalk 2.5-3 cm, oblong-lanceolate, 30-50 × 10-18 cm, apex long acuminate; pinnules ca. 20 pairs, alternate, spreading, with short stipe ca. 1.5 mm, lanceolate, base truncate, 1.2-1.5 cm wide, apex caudate, margin subentire or crenate to dentate, often pinnatifid on large fronds to 1/4 or less to midvein; veinlets 3-5 pairs, simple, basal basiscopic ones arising directly from pinna costa or from base of pinnule costule, sometimes veins anastomosing, forming triangular areoles. Sori orbicular, subcostular; paraphyses short, indusia absent.
Forests beside streams and in ravines; 100-1100 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Taiwan, Yunnan [Japan (Ryukyu Islands), Thailand, ?Vietnam].