These brown stalks appear in the Ponderosa Pine forest every year. Despite their brown color they are plants.
No part of the plant has chlorophyll and they are parasitic on mycorrhizal fungi in the soil. Most plants in a natural setting form a mutual symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. The fungi filaments greatly increase the nutrient uptake of plants and in turn receive food. The parasitic Woodland Pinedrops do not create a mutual relationship and only take from the fungi.
The flowers of Woodland Pinedrops