Given the delayed spring we’ve had locally, Aphyllon purpureum ought to be in bloom this weekend at the Tom McCall Preserve near Rowena, Oregon (where this photograph was taken two years and a few days ago). I’ve scanned the ground for these low growers (to 15cm tall) the past two weekends in local areas, but no luck for me this year.
Aphyllon purpureum (2018 edit, former name in common use is Orobanche uniflora var. purpureum), or naked broomrape (or one-flowered broomrape or one-flowered cancer-root), is a species of western North America.
The above link notes that this parasitic species saps nutrients from “especially Senecio aronicoides, Antennaria, Sedum, Apiaceae, Saxifragaceae”. I don’t recall seeing Sedum or any saxifrages at this location, so I suspect in this case it was parasitizing Balsamorhiza–though perhaps there was a Lomatium (Apiaceae) nearby. In the few occasions I’ve chanced upon this species, I’ve noted it to grow in areas of springtime wet followed by summertime dry, to the point where it could be considered a spring ephemeral. When (2018 edit – former curator of the UBC Alpine Garden) Brent Hine and I returned to this location in mid-summer of the same year, there was no evidence of Aphyllon purpureum to be found and the vegetation nearby was “crispy” from the summer heat. Given its broad distribution, however, I suspect that these particular conditions are not always the case.