Harveya scarlatina is a parasitic herb that branches a little and is covered in minute hairs. It grows erectly, reaching heights around 15 cm. The leaves are opposite and stalkless on the furrowed stems. Leaves are scale-like, elliptic or ovate in shape. Lower leaves are smaller and overlap like roof tiles.
A dense spike of two to six trumpet-shaped, orange and red flowers with yellow throats is produced during a brief flowering season from midsummer. The corolla tube is about 2 cm long, the corolla lobes vary in shape from oblong to round. The stigma is exserted beyond the corolla mouth. The calyx is five-lobed as the corolla, purplish red and slightly hairy.
The distribution of the species is the southern Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, as well as Lesotho. It may also occur in the Free State and Gauteng. This plant was photographed in Lesotho during January. The habitat is grassland and scrub at higher elevations (JSTOR; Manning, 2009; iSpot).