Nepenthes tentaculata is a tropical pitcher plant with a very wide distribution across Borneo and Sulawesi. It grows at altitudes of 400–2550 m. Nepenthes tentaculata is a climbing plant. The stem may reach a length of 3 m and is up to 5 mm in diameter. The pitchers of N. tentaculata are generally quite small, rarely exceeding 15 cm in height. However, in exceptional specimens they may be up to 30 cm high by 8 cm wide. Rosette and lower pitchers are ovoid in the basal third and cylindrical above. Upper pitchers are more cylindrical throughout. A pair of fringed wings runs down the front of lower pitchers, while in upper pitchers these are often reduced to ribs. The specific epithet tentaculata is derived from the Latin word tentacula, meaning “tentacles”, and refers to the multicellular appendages on the upper surface of the pitcher lid.
Nepenthes tentaculata has a wide distribution that covers Borneo and Sulawesi. It is particularly widespread in the former, where it has been recorded from almost every mountain exceeding 1000 m. It usually grows at altitudes of between 1200 and 2550 m above sea level. The species typically inhabits mossy forest, although it has also been recorded from ridge-top vegetation on mountain summits. Unlike many other Nepenthes species, N. tentaculata does not occur as an epiphyte; it always grows terrestrially. Plants often grow in clumps of Sphagnum moss, spreading vegetatively via creeping subterranean stems.