Answer: This bizarre-sounding weed must be dodder (Cuscuta spp)! To be sure, there is a photograph at this url: http://www.rce.rutgers.edu/weedimages/19.gif
It is a parasite and has no chlorophyl; it survives by feeding through the vascular system of the host plant. Since it is an annual and will set seed after flowering, try to remove as much of it as soon as you can from your plants, especially any flowers. Be sure to destroy it (some gardeners burn it) -- do not put it in your compost heap. When the seeds first germinate it has a few roots, so frequent cultivation can stop it in its earliest stage.
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