These sparsely hairy Hyobanche glabrata flowers were photographed near Oudtshoorn in August. The stamens protrude from the corolla mouth, the leaves only small red scales.
The flowers are growing here on bare clay ground but for a pebble covering. The pinkish to scarlet or bright red colouring would be spotted anywhere in the plant’s generally duller habitat. It is interesting though to see the plant without host in the immediate vicinity for delivering sustenance. Roots from the shrubs around must be present, moisture being a driver of long root growth in arid areas.
The Hyobanche genus comprises holoparasites or obligate parasites that cannot complete their lifecycles without the support of host plants, as they have no chlorophyll at all. Hemiparasites, sometimes called semi-parasites, however, also photosynthesise to some extent, using host plants as boosters for their insufficient production capacity (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Manning, 2007; Wikipedia).