A robust terrestrial herb 13-35 cm tall, with a short creeping rhizome. Stem erect, glabrous, leafy along length. Leaves six, the lowermost three reduced to sheaths around the base of the stem, uppermost round to elliptic-ovate, obtuse to acute, 7-15 cm long, 3.3-7.2 cm wide, ciliate, glabrous on both surfaces except towards the tips. Inflorescence one-flowered, produced usually before the leaves have fully developed; bract overtopping the flower, elliptic, ovate or lanceolate, acute or acuminate, 5-10.5 cm long. Flower nodding, purple or dark maroon, usually with a darker lip with a white-margined rim to the mouth and darker marked veins on the sepals and petals, flower drying black or very dark maroon; pedicel and ovary glabrous or rarely slightly pubescent or papillose towards the apex, 2-3.2 cm long. Dorsal sepal ovate-elliptic, acuminate to shortly mucronate, 3-5.2 cm long, 2.2-3 cm wide, sparsely ciliate. Synsepal elliptic-ovate or oblong-elliptic, bifid at tip, 3-3.5 cm long, 1.8-2 cm wide, sparsely ciliate towards apex. Petals incurved-porrect to subspreading and decurved, lanceolate to oblong- lanceolate, acuminate to acute, 3.6-6 cm long, 1.4-2.5 cm wide, sparsely ciliate, densely pubescent at the base on the inner surface. Lip deeply ventricose, usually broader than deep, 3.5-6 cm long and wide, the margins of the circular to elliptic mouth crimped all round, the outer surface usually wrinkled, hairy within. Column short; staminode subsessile, cordate-trullate, 1.5-2 cm long, 0.8-1.2 cm wide, more or less flat but somewhat concave at the blunt tip, glabrous.
Sikkim, Bhutan, W. China (Xizang (Tibet), Yunnan, Sichuan, and possibly S. Gansu).
Open montane meadows, margins of coniferous and mixed woodlands, open limestone ledges and screes; 2300-4200 4600 m.