Saw this growing next to a bush a few feet from our cabin. Nobody we knew out here in the desert could identify it. Plant? Mushroom? Peyote?
Our nature friend Trinie has instantly identified it as Sandfood, one of her favorite flowering parasites.
This particular species is Pholisma arenarium, also known as Desert pholisma, Scaly stemmed Sand Plant, desert christmas tree, dune food or purple sandfood. Calflora: “Pholisma arenarium, a dicot, is a perennial herb (parasitic) that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America.”
Profile for Pholisma arenarium: USDA PLANTS