Description from Flora of China
Balanophora esquirolii H. Léveillé; B. harlandii var. mutinoides (Hayata) F. W. Xing; B. henryi Hemsley; B. kawakamii Valeton; B. kudoi Yamamoto; B. lancangensis Y. Y. Qian; B. minor Hemsley; B. mutinoides Hayata.
Plants dioecious. Rhizome yellowish to brownish, branched or unbranched, surface scabrous; branches flat spheroid or subglobose, 2.5-5 cm in diam. Scapes red (especially in females) to yellow, 2-5.5 cm. Leaves 6-12, yellow to reddish, usually clustered on base of scape, decussate, subopposite, or spiraled, scaly, oblong-ovate, 2.5-4.5 × 1.5-2.5 cm. Male inflorescences subspheroid to ovoid-ellipsoid, 1.8-2.5 × 1.5-2 cm. Bracts truncate with expanded liplike margin, fused side by side into a hexagonal alveolus. Male flowers: pedicellate, inserted basally in alveolus, 3-merous, 1.5-3 mm in diam. Perianth lobes broadly deltoid. Synandria subdiscoid; anthers 3, transversely dehiscent. Female inflorescence ovoid to ellipsoid. Spadicles obovoid, shortly stiped; cuticular ridges of apical cells labyrinthlike. Female flowers: only on main axis of inflorescences. Fl. Sep-Nov.
The reports of Balanophora japonica Makino from Hainan (Tam, FRPS 24: 267. 1988) and elsewhere in China are incorrect, and collections reported as such belong to B. harlandii (Xing & Li, Bull. Bot. Res., Harbin 12: 380. 1992).
The hosts are usually species of Cannabis and Pueraria. The species is used medicinally.
Forests on shady moist mountain slopes; 600-2100 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [India (Assam), Thailand].