Description from Flora of China
Aspidium acanthophyllum Franchet, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 32: 28. 1885; Polystichum aculeatum (Linnaeus) Roth ex Mertens var. acanthophyllum (Franchet) Beddome; P. horridipinnum Hayata; P. spinulescens Tagawa.
Plants evergreen. Rhizome erect, densely scaly; scales blackish or dark brown, lanceolate. Fronds 8-28 cm; stipe stramineous, 2-12 cm, 3-5 mm in diam. at base, scaly; scales brown or dark brown, narrowly ovate and lanceolate. Lamina bipinnate, lanceolate, 6-26 × 1.5-5 cm, slightly contracted at base, acuminate; rachis without proliferous bulbils, abaxially scaly; scales brown or dark brown; larger scales lanceolate, margins ciliate; smaller scales filiform, strongly ciliate at base. Pinnae 12-28 pairs, alternate, attached at right angles to rachis or slightly ascendant, deltoid-ovate, 0.6-2.5 cm, bases obliquely broadly cuneate to truncate, subsessile, pinnate, apices acute and spinulose. Pinnules 1-3 pairs, alternate, attached at nearly right angles to rachis, broadly ovate, rhombic-ovate, or obovate, bases cuneate, margins with few open spinulose teeth, apices acute and spinulose; abaxially scaly; microscales filiform, strongly ciliate at base; frond texture leathery; venation pinnate on pinnules, slightly concave abaxially, indistinct adaxially. Sori in 1 row on each side of midrib; indusia present, slightly toothed.
Alpine coniferous forests, mixed broad-leaved coniferous forests; (2000-)2800-4100 m. W Sichuan, Taiwan, SE Xizang, NW and W Yunnan [N India, Nepal].