Climbing liana-like shrub, usually tightly fastened to supporting tree; older stems with a flaky brown periderm; younger stems and inflorescences with scalelike stellate pubescence. Leaves subcoriaceous; petioles 1-2 cm long; blades oval to elliptic, round to acute at apex, obtuse at base, 6-15 (23) cm long, 3-7 (14) cm wide, bicolorous, both surfaces sparsely covered with brown stellate scales, those of the upper surface often +/- sunken, the margins +/- entire; midrib usually arched, the reticulate venation visible only on lower surface. Inflorescences at or near apex, open and spreading; branches 4-7 cm long, at first enclosed in a large bud 1.5-2 cm broad of several spathe-like bracts; sterile flowers at first white, becoming pale green, to 1.5 cm diam, of 4 rounded sepals, the pedicels mostly 1.5 cm long; fertile flowers maroon, short-pedicellate; calyx obscurely 4-toothed; petals 4, ca 1.7 mm long, caducous; stamens 8, inconspicuous, to 0.7 mm long, shorter than style; styles 2, spatulate; stigmas marginal, 2 mm long at maturity. Capsules ca 2 mm long, splitting open at apex between styles; seeds less than 1 mm long, linear, very numerous. Croat 11850. Rare, occurring high in the canopy. Juvenile plants with their small, more or less ovate leaves and densely rooted, closely appressed stems are usually common climbing trees in the vicinity of the adult plants. Flowers principally from July to September (elsewhere often flowering in January). The fruits develop quickly and are usually present on all but the youngest inflorescences. H. oerstediana Briq., reported in the Flora of Panama (McClintock, 1950), may be merely a form of H. peruviana. Costa Rica to Peru, possibly as far north as Mexico. In Panama, known principally at high to middle elevations from lower montane wet forest in Chiriqui, from tropical wet forest in Coclé, and from premontane wet forest in the Canal Zone (Pipeline Road), Chiriqui, and Coclé; known much less frequently from tropical moist forest at lower elevations in the Canal Zone and Panama.