Malaysia (Borneo), Sabah, Mt Kinabalu and one record from Mt Alab in the Crocker Range.
Small shrub or shrub to 6m. Twigs short, spreading, rounded to obtusely angular especially towards the end of each internode; upper internodes 3–7cm, densely dark-scaly at the ends, silvery on older parts. Leaves 3–6 close together at the upper nodes or condensed in pseudowhorls. Blade 60–120 x 25–60mm, ovate or elliptic-ovate; apex shortly-acuminate, obtuse; margin flat or slightly revolute; base mostly rounded, sometimes very broadly tapering, densely scaly on both sides initially, glabrescent above, pits where the scales were attached remaining visible; beneath permanently covered. Scales overlapping with broad central cushions and wide irregularly lobed margins, the largest dark-brown, almost black, the smaller paler brown. Mid-vein strongly impressed above, thick and rigid beneath, continuing the petiole and gradually narrowing distally; lateral veins 6–8 per side, wide-spreading, from right angles to 45°, straight or slightly curved to the margin, distinctly anastomosing, deeply depressed above, strongly prominent beneath, veins laxly reticulate and distinctly impressed above, not or only slightly raised beneath, the whole surface deeply rugose; dark green and glossy above, brown beneath. Petiole 12–28 x 2–4mm, almost rounded in section, grooved above, densely scaly. Flower buds to 20 x 12mm, broadly ovoid, smooth. Bracts to 20 x 13mm, ovate, truncate at the base, obtuse at the apex, greenish but covered all over with minute, fine, brownish or greyish hairs and scaly outside along the median line and towards the apex outside, but glabrous towards the thin margin, the margin itself fringed with white hairs and occasional scales. Bracteoles to 15mm, linear to filiform, sub-spathulate-dilated at the top, patently hairy. Flowers 6–15 in an open umbel, hanging or half-hanging. Pedicels 8–12mm, thick, densely scaly and also finely hairy between the scales. Calyx c.2.5mm in diameter, a low scaly ring, or shallowly 5-lobed, densely scaly. Corolla 34 x 22mm, tubular or narrowly funnel-shaped, orange or red; tube 20 x 5–6 x 6–7mm, sub-densely to sparsely or occasionally glabrous outside, shortly sub-densely hairy in the lower ½ inside, straight, cylindrical, the base slightly 5-pouched; lobes 12 x 7–9mm, half-spreading, not overlapping, with a few well-spaced scales outside. Stamens arranged irregularly all round the flower, exserted to c.10mm, very slightly dimorphic; filaments linear, flattened nearly to the top, densely white-patent-hairy in the proximal 1⁄3; anthers 2.5–2.8 x 1mm, pale brown, without basal appendages. Disc glabrous. Ovary c.6 x 2mm, cylindrical, densely brown-scaly, gradually tapering to the thick style, which is scaly in its proximal ½ and lies on the lower side of the tube; stigma c.1.5mm in diameter, rounded, sometimes distinctly lobed. Fruit 25–34 x 4–5mm, cylindrical, longitudinally grooved, shortly tapering at both ends, densely scaly, splitting to the base, with the valves strongly curving back. Seeds 5–6mm, without tails 1mm, the longest tail 2.8mm.
Terrestrial in mossy forest and open shrubberies, especially on ridges, occasionally as an epiphyte but always in well-illuminated situations. Occurring from 1830 to 3350m, common on Mt Kinabalu but subject to fluctuations in the size of the populations as it is a species which appears to be very adversely affected by droughts in El Niño years.
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