Snow plants seem one of the first to bloom in the Sierra. They derive energy from soil mycorrhizae, which in turn get their energy from roots and soil decomposition processes. I read some time ago that they are edible, like asparagus, however they are protected and I've never tasted them.
Last year we saw fewer of these and more flowers of other types, indicating a later stage in the bloom cycle. With many trail heads still snowed in this year, peak bloom seems a ways off. Maybe we'll get lucky and see it start to come in.
A comment from Dylan Eichenberg drew my attention to my misidentification of the picture below. He rightly points out that it is Pine Drops (Pterospora andromedea).
- Posted at great expense from my iPhone