Sub-category: Heath family
Unlike most plants, it does not contain chlorophyll; it is a myco-heterotroph, getting its food through parasitism upon fungi rather than photosynthesis. These fungi form a mycorrhiza with nearby tree species. Plants are fleshy and grow 10 to 35 cm tall. True stems are nonexistent. Instead, the only part which emerges from the soil are unbranched adventitious inflorescences which are developmentally similar to adventitious roots. All parts of the plant are pale yellowish white to reddish-tinged. The bracts are 5 to 10 mm long scale-like structures, which cover most of the inflorescence. The flowers are pendulous when young, but become erect when they begin to mature into the fruit which is a capsule. The flowers are 9 to 12 mm long and produced in a cluster of 1 to 11 together at the apex of the inflorescence, which is a raceme.
Plants flower from May to October in North America. Plants that flower in summer are yellow and sparsely hairy, while those that flower in autumn are red and densely hairy.