Hyobanche glabrata is a fleshy root parasite with scale-like leaves that lack chlorophyll. The leaves are small and scattered along the stem, overlapping like tiles and are smaller low down. The plant parasitises on certain shrubby daisies via a fleshy haustorium, which is an underground connecting root attaching to the root of a nearby host plant, penetrating the root tissue to withdraw nutrients from the host.
In Afrikaans the plant is commonly known as klein wolwekos (small wolves’ food). The name may be derived from the red appearance that, in the absence of green leaves, resembles a piece of raw meat or carrion lying on the ground.
The species distribution is in the Western Cape and the Northern Cape, slightly into the Eastern Cape and Namibia.
The habitat is arid scrubland, including renosterveld and succulent Karoo. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
There are seven Hyobanche species in southern Africa (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Manning, 2009; JSTOR; http://redlist.sanbi.org).