A striking lipstick vine that I initially thought was a very fine hybrid, but had my doubts when I verified the origin of the plant. A possible ID was suggested by experts from an institution - a plant first described by Mary Mendum in 1997. Besides the shocking colour, it also has a very tall and flaring calyx.
I wanted to get the publication to confirm the ID but there were always more pressing issues. Eventually, I obtained a copy from an acquaintance. I cannot verify the presence of glanduular hairs inside the flower but the other characteristics matched very well with this plant - the leaf shape, flower colour right down to the "crimson central line and the broken dots and dashes either side" of the lower corolla lobe. According to Mary's paper, when her specimen first flowered, the calyx was short (1.5-2 cm) but subsequent flowers had longer calyx of 2.7-3.4cm, as my series of photos also showed. The shrub also appeared to be rather rare, being found in only 3 localities in North Sarawak.
Just for the record, I had attached the published line drawing from Mary's paper for comparison. What the paper failed to emphasise is the very unique leaf colour -velvety purple-green hairy at the top and brighter green at the edge and pink at the bottom, very pretty even when not in bloom.
This is a treasured gift from my gesneriad friend from Borneo.
Addenda (28 May 2010)
Scroll down this emag for an interesting article by Dr Anthony Lamb
Lipstick flowers of Sabah and Sarawak