I wasn't paying enough attention. When the time came to put a name to the photo, I was stuck. No flowers, no leaves; just stalks and round, flat seed pods. What plant book classifies plants by the shape of the siliques?
I leafed through my "Plants of Coastal BC", muttering. "Too many possiblilities."
Laurie was (not) being helpful: "Just tear out a bunch of pages," he said.
Never mind; I found it, in the Brassicas. Pepperweed. Lepidium densiflorum or virginicum, I'm not sure which. I wasn't sure, even then, because most of the photos were of young plants, flowers, or fresh, green seed spikes. Ours were yellow and orange. I finally found one, taken in Texas, the same colour. Pepperweed it is.
Looking closely at our photos, I realize that there were probably a few flowers, which I would have discovered if I'd not been in such a rush. They are clustered at the tip of the stalks, and very tiny; the full-blown flower is barely 1 millimetre long. (The seed pods are around 4 mm.)
I should have looked for leaves; that would have helped in the identification.
And it's edible. If I had known (or if I had brought home a sample), I would have tasted it. It is supposed to be peppery; the seeds and leaves add zip to a salad or a cooked dish.
If, if, if ... Lesson learned; pay attention. Always. Smell the roses. And taste the pepperweed.