Striga elegans, belonging to the Orobanchaceae family, is one of 28 species in the genus of witchweeds. They used to be classified among the Scrophulariaceae. These plants attach themselves to the roots of neighbouring plants. In the case of this species it is usually a grass that becomes the host plant. The parasite is then dependent upon the host plant for providing nutrients for its survival. Plants that cannot survive without their hosts at all are obligate parasites. Some parasites only augment the limited nutrients they can source from the environment independently. This species has thin green stems, small leaves and several bright red flowers.
Certain (other) Striga species affect agricultural crops in many countries, but Striga elegans does not present such problems. The very bright red flowers are a delight to encounter in the open grassland of South Africa and northwards into tropical Africa.
There is a Plant Record on Striga elegans elsewhere on this Site with more information.