Mystery Plant

Last week I was out walking with a friend and snapped this photo of a small, odd-looking, bright-pink plant growing out of a rock face, where it was surrounded by moss, ferns, and columbine.  I had no idea what it was.  Neither did my friend or any of my wildflower-literate coworkers.  I finally emailed the photo to a former professor who is a walking encyclopedia of plant identification, and he replied that his best guess is it may be the fruiting stalk of a spring beauty plant, but he has no idea why the unusual color.

If anyone reading this can shed any further light on what this is (or, if it is spring beauty, why it’s this color), feel free to comment.  But regardless of the actual identification, I think it’s pretty awesome-looking.

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