This plant is a perennial, parasitic herb ranging between 200 and 400 mm high. It cannot photosynthesize and is fully dependent on its host for all its nutrients. It attaches itself to the roots of the host and absorbs all it needs from the host. The stems are fleshy and usually simple but, rarely, there can be up to eight branches. This plant does not bear normal-looking leaves but the stems are covered in small, appressed, scale leaves. The whole plant is usually one colour, deep carmine red to orange or rarely yellow.