Best way to annotate Plant Phenology for dead flowering plants?

What would be the best way to annotate the plant phenology for dead flowering plants? Would it be to mark it as “No evidence of flowering” since it is no longer alive? Do the annotations “Fruiting” and “Flowering” only apply to living plants?
Take these observations for example-

Partially discussed here

I would still annotate as fruit, or flower.

To me it is about using the photos to ID the fruits and flowers, the shape and structure is there, if not the living colours.

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If there are no flower buds, no flowers, and no fruit then there is no evidence of flowering. Evidence of past flowering is not flowering i.e. it is not in the “flowering stage”.

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Doing that way diminishes the value of graphing the plant phenology data though. The apple tree isn’t still fruiting just because there’s a brown frozen apple hanging on it in February.


As long as there are still seeds attached to it, I usually call it fruiting, even if the rest of the plant looks dead already. Fruiting/seed dispersal go hand-in-hand in my mind.


Looking at the phenophase definitions of the US National Phenology Network, there are actually a couple of fruit/seed phenophases that probably would all fall under “fruiting” on iNat. This includes:

“Fruits” and “Ripe fruits” - One or more (ripe) fruits are visible on the plant.


“Recent fruit or seed drop” - One or more mature fruits or seeds have dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit. Do not include obviously immature fruits that have dropped before ripening, such as in a heavy rain or wind, or empty fruits that had long ago dropped all of their seeds but remained on the plant.


“Recent fruit or seed drop” is a separate phenophase from “fruiting” and not one of the choices on iNat at this time.

I agree

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so we have to work with the choices we do have. On another thread scientists wanted many more choices, but that would mean lots more that are wrong because non-scientists can’t tease apart the many stages.

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It would be nice if there were more options to choose from, but for annotation purposes if someone photographs fruits on the ground or holding them in their hands and puts an annotation on it, it is almost certainly going to be “fruiting” from the choices currently offered on iNat, even though it is no longer attached to the plant.


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