Balanophora means “bearing acorn-like heads”, referring to the inflorescences. Plants parasitic on roots, lack roots and chlorophyll, but have a short thick underground rhizome. Leaves are scale-like or absent. Inflorescence short and stout appearing fungus-like; flowers unisexual, female flowers densely packed forming a globular head with the male flowers forming a loosely packed ring below them. Fruit minute.