Plant slender to moderately robust, erect, 50-80 cm in diameter. Leaves usually rudimentary and normally developed in successive pairs; normally developed leaves narrowly ovate to ovate or elliptic, attenuate at the base to an obscure petiole 2-8 mm long, often undulate at the margin, more or less acuminate and finally shortly rounded at the apex, 3-nerved, with veins visible on both sides, 40-90(-110) by 10-30 mm; rudimentary leaves rarely lacking, rarely in two successive pairs, (2-)7-25 mm above each leafy node, c. 1 mm high. Inflorescences commonly terminal, often in threes, sometimes axillary, 30-90 mm long, a spike of 9-25(-40) pairs of triads or sometimes single flowers; internodes 2-5 mm long; bracteal cup c. 0.5 mm long, spreading; bracteoles acuminate, almost entire to serrate, rarely (not in Malesia) densely fimbriate, 0.4-1 mm long. Fruit narrowly ellipsoid to ellipsoid, smooth or rarely finely verrucose, yellow to red.
Asia-Tropical: Borneo present; Maluku (Maluku present); Philippines (Philippines present); Sulawesi (Sulawesi present), Lombok present, Solomon Islands present
Solomon Islands; Malesia: Borneo, Philippines, Celebes, Lombok, Moluccas. See note on disjunct distribution.
There is a striking disjunction in the species area between the Moluccas and the Solomon Islands, with the intervening area in New Guinea occupied by G. flagellaris (see note there). In the Solomon Islands G. arnottiana shows the strongly fimbriate bracteole character which is otherwise diagnostic of G. flagellaris.