The bright red leaf-like bracts that surround the white to greenish flowers make the plant look like a ragged brush dipped in red paint. They sometimes produce a light yellow or pure white variation mixed with the red hues.
Each plant typically grows 30–45 cm (12–18 in) tall. The leaves are long and stemless. The roots grow until they reach the roots of other plants, mainly grasses, and then penetrate the roots of the "host" plant to obtain some of their needed nutrients (known as semi- or hemiparasitism).
Texas brush usually blooms in early to mid spring and thrives in well-drained areas with full sun. They can be seen along highways and in fields, complementing the deep blue of the bluebonnets.