Description from Flora of China
Polystichum aculeatum (Linnaeus) Roth var. fargesii Christ; P. bicolor Ching & S. K. Wu (1983), not A. R. Smith (1975); P. doianum Tagawa; P. makinoi (Tagawa) Tagawa var. chuanzangense Ching & S. K. Wu; P. setiferum (Forsskål) Moore ex Woynar var. fargesii (Christ) C. Christensen; P. yunnanense Christ var. fargesii (Christ) C. Christensen.
Plants evergreen. Rhizome erect or ascending, short, densely covered with linear brown scales. Fronds 48-95 cm; stipe yellowish brown, 16-32 cm, 2-3.5 mm in diam. at base, densely covered with linear, lanceolate and larger scales; large scales bicolorous, blackish brown at middle, shiny, ovate, ovate-lanceolate, and broadly lanceolate, up to 13 × 5 mm, subentire, caudate. Lamina bipinnate, oblong-lanceolate, 32-63 cm, near basal part 10-22 cm wide, slightly or not contracted toward base, in lower part only 1 or 2 pairs sterile, apex acuminate, fertile; rachis without proliferous bulbils, abaxially densely covered with linear, lanceolate brown scales and larger scales; large scales bicolorous, blackish brown at middle, shiny, linear and ovate-lanceolate, up to 8 × 2.5 mm, with irregular small teeth, caudate. Pinnae 17-26 pairs, alternate, slightly ascendant, shortly stalked, lanceolate, not contracted toward base, bases asymmetrical, apices acuminate; pinnae of basal lamina 6-12 × 1.3-2.8 cm, 1-pinnate; costa abaxially covered with linear brown scales. Pinnules 9-16 pairs, alternate, shortly stalked, oblong, 0.8-1.6 cm × 4-7 mm, bases cuneate, with rounded auricles acroscopically, apices acute, margins subentire or shallowly toothed, teeth shortly spinulose at tip (or long spinulose in large individuals); basal acroscopic pinnules largest, deeply incised; adaxially with few and abaxially with many shortly filiform microscales; frond texture papery; venation pinnate, lateral veins 6-8 pairs, dichotomous, distinct. Sori 4-6 pairs per pinnule, in 1 row on each side of midrib, terminal on veinlets; indusia present, irregularly toothed. 2n = 164.
The most important characters of Polystichum piceopaleaceum are that its lamina is oblong-lanceolate, its rachis scales are bicolorous, and its acroscopic pinnules are not toothed or only shallowly toothed.
A hybrid, Polystichum ×silviamontanum Miyamoto & T. Nakamura (J. Jap. Bot. 58: 147. 1983, "silvinmontanum"), possibly between P. piceopaleaceum and P. wilsonii (P. sinense), was described from Taizhong, Taiwan.
Valleys, streamsides, cliffs, rock crevices; 1200-3400 m. Gansu (Kangxian, Wenxian), N Guizhou, S Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, SE Xizang, Yunnan [NE Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Japan, Kashmir, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka].