Terrestrial or epiphytic subshrub, 0.3-0.5 m long or more. Stem succulent, climbing or pendent, sarmentose, sericeous-strigose near apex, becoming glabrous below. Leaves equal to subequal in a pair; petiole 0.2-1.1 cm long, sericeous-strigose; blade papyraceous or chartaceous when dry, elliptic or oblong-elliptic, 1.5-6.5 x 0.9-3.8 cm, margin entire to remotely crenate-dentate, apex acute or obtuse, base cuneate or rounded, above glabrous to strigose or subtomentose, below glabrous to strigose or subtomentose. Flowers in fasciculate 1-3-flowered inflorescences; pedicel 0.8-2 cm long, sericeous-strigose. Calyx campanulate, green or reddish, lobes free or lateral and ventral lobes connate 0.1-0.2 cm, tube 0.1-0.2 cm long, free portion of lobes erect, subequal, ovate-lanceolate to linear, 0.8-1.7 x 0.1-0.4 cm, margin entire at base or with a few teeth, apex acuminate, subulate or acute, outside strigose, inside strigose; corolla erect in calyx, red, 4.3-7 cm long, tube cylindric, 2.3-4.9 cm long, base gibbous, 0.15-0.4 cm wide, middle slightly ampliate, throat not contracted, 0.5-0.9 cm wide, outside pilosulous, inside sparsely pubescent on dorsal side, limb ca. 2.5 cm wide, lobes strongly unequal, upper lobes connate into a galea, erect, 1.3-1.8 x 1-1.1 cm, margin entire, lateral lobes spreading, triangular, 0.7-0.9 x 0.7-1 cm, margin entire, basal lobe reflexed, lanceolate, 1.2-1.5 x 0.25-0.4 cm, margin entire; stamens exserted, adnate to base of corolla tube; staminode absent; ovary ovoid, 0.3-0.35 x 0.15-0.25 cm, appressed-pubescent or glabrous, style ca. 4.5 cm long, pubescent, stigma 2-lobed. Mature berry white, globose, ca. 0.8 x 0.8 cm.
The description above is compiled from that given by Leeuwenberg (1958, 1984) as we have seen no authentic specimens of
Columnea scandens from the Guianas. The species may yet be found there for it is known from Venezuela, Trinidad and the Lesser Antilles. Leeuwenberg (1958) cited two collections from the Guianas, the first "Cayenne, Martin 100 (BM, p.p.)", may well have come from Martinique where Martin also collected; the second, a specimen cited by Richard Schomburgk (1849: 972) as collected by Robert Schomburgk in 1841 from "near Aruka" (probably the Aruka R.) in Guyana, was in the Berlin Herbarium and now no longer extant. No duplicates of this latter specimen have been found.