Salt Marsh Dodder, almost certainly Cuscuta salina var. major, also called goldenthread or just dodder. This Caltrans-orange plant grows slowly over pickleweed in the saltmarshes of San Francisco Bay. It is a parasite, but it seems to have worked out a deal with the pickleweed. It will only kill a little pickleweed, and the pickleweed gets . . . well, nothing.
I'd never gotten to see its cute little flowers before.
This was tough to photograph, as it was windy out, and the only place I could get close to flowers, the dodder was shaded, making for some awful contrast.
Palo Alto Baylands, August 9, 2008.