California Groundcone (Boschniakia strobilacea)
We found this parasitic, purple-hued “flower” in a couple wooded locations in an early southern Oregon trip, co-existing with its favorite plants, Manzanita and Madrone. Instead of roots, these plants (like Mistletoe) have haustoria that connect to the roots of the host plant and extract nutrients. This species is a shorter, more attractive sister of the Northern Groundcone we saw a few years ago in Alaska, living off Alder tree roots.
The yellow-tipped tube flowers alternate with pine bracts or scales that combine to form a tight cone, often mistaken for a pinecone. Some refer to these plants as herbs.