Naked Broomrape (Orobanche uniflora var. purpurea)
Look closely for these tiny flowers, but don’t expect to find any leaves. The broomrape family’s members have no chlorophyll, and only exist in parasitic relationships with other plants (in this case, sedum oreganum, shown below; the plant is said to also coexist with some saxifrages). What appear to be yellow anthers, are in reality colored indentations of the bottom petals. The genus name, interestingly, comes from two greek words orobos, a type of vetch, and anchone, “to choke”, referring to a similar plant that lived parasitically off vetches.
We’ve seen these elsewhere in the Gorge at Tom McCall Nature Preserve in March, and at Wind Mountain in May, but never as many as we saw in April, further east near Lyle WA, in the photos posted.