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plant in question

Trying to identify a plant I found recently. May 4, 2024; approx. alt. 3000ft on eastern side of Cascades (ponderosa everywhere).

I was at an NFS camping area near Ellensburg, WA, walking up the road. Lots of red-brown mud. Along the sides of the road are the usual wash outs where water streams down during storms. There's a lot of rocks and a select few green plants in those stream beds, but I noticed a splash of yellow-brown. I have been looking for an example of candystick, so I can say that what I did find looks a bit like that kind of parasitic plant.

The stalks are perhaps 1cm wide and 10-15cm tall, white-yellow with streaks of muted red, and have no obvious greenery to speak of. There are little, blanched (almost green) leaves toward the bottom, which are close to the stalk, short, and seem less developed. The dominant feature which caught my attention are the yellow, serrated leaves on branches toward the top. These leaves are shell-shaped and occur in opposing pairs, with a single leaf at the branch's tip.

I found only two examples of this plant - less than 20ft apart - and I can't find any images like them in my reference books or on the Google. If anyone can identify this, then I'd be thrilled.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the Biology Stack Exchange. A pity the photo is out of focus on the plant - you seem to have captured the rock in the background as the focus point. Do you have any other photos of it? I've embedded the image so no need to visit off-site. Uses the format: ![name of image](link to image) $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    May 6 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ Cross-posted (with a different identity) on our great outdoors site - we ask that you don't do that so as to avoid cluttering the network with duplicate posts. If you wish to consolidate or merge your identities, then please use the "contact us" button on any page at the bottom to ask staff to help out. $\endgroup$ May 6 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ I reckon if you went back in a week or two, those yellows will be bright green and probably instantly recognizable. I didn't spot anything on iNaturalist that looked similar at this point, but hard to narrow to the right region. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    May 6 at 4:52

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