Symptoms in host plants include stunting, chlorosis, and wilting. Seedlings are not visible above ground, but white succulent shoots can be found attached to host roots. Underground stems are round with scale-like leaves and white, turning blue when exposed to air. The roots are succulent, round, without root hairs and found attached to a host species root system. Mature plants have green foliage above ground which is sparsely covered with coarse, short, white, bulbous-based hairs. Plants are normally 15–30cm tall. Leaves are nearly opposite, narrowly lanceolate, about 1–3cm long, with successive leaf pairs perpendicular to one another. It flowers in summer and autumn, with small (less than 1.5cm in diameter) flowers, which are sessile and axillary, occurring in loose spikes. Flower colour varies from bright red to white, yellow or pink. Flowers self-pollinate before opening. S. asiatica is distinguishable from Australian native species as its calyx has 10 ribs, whilst native species have calyces with 5 ribs. Capsules can contain up to 1400 seeds (550 average). Brown seeds about 0.2mm long are dispersed by wind, water, soil movement, human activities and by clinging to the feet, shoes and clothing, animals, farm machinery, tools. It is native to tropical parts of Asia and Africa, including the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Mauritius, India and the Arabian peninsula. It has been introduced to the United States.