Cultivated plants included in phenology graphs (or cultivated plants excluded in filtered Explore links on graphs)

While looking at the phenology graphs on taxon pages, I noticed that they by default contain phenology annotations from both cultivated (aka casual/not verifiable) observations as well as RG/needs ID. However, when clicking on the data points in the graphs, it will by default only show RG/needs ID observations, so on things like common houseplants that have all been marked cultivated as they should be (e.g. certain orchids), it can occur that iNat claims there are no observations for that annotation despite the fact that it showed a bunch of them in the phenology graph. To get the list of those, one has to go into filters and uncheck “verifiable” to include casual observations.

Example with screenshots to illustrate what I’m talking about:

Step 1 - select phenology data to view

Step 2 - Notice that some observations are missing

Step 3 - Change the filters by unchecking "verifiable"

Step 4 - Missing observations with phenology annotations are now included (mostly)

I’m not sure why there are still a few missing on the last screenshot but the number is small enough that I think this could maybe be an issue with syncing the data shown in the graphs? Also, the wording of “verifiable” excluding cultivated plants I think is poorly chosen as these observations often can be more easily verified than wild ones and have plenty of IDs, but there are other threads that are probably better suited for that discussion (e.g. here).

I’m curious what people think about the annotation graphs. Should “casual” observations such as houseplants be included by default? Since they currently are, shouldn’t they then also by default be included in the list of observations obtainable by clicking on a data point in the graph?

I could imagine that this is somewhat problematic for users who would like to look at when things flower in the wild. It just does not make sense to include e.g. an orchid grown in a greenhouse or plants dead-headed in a garden to encourage a second set of blooms in the graph in that case. Is there currently a way to separate these out and look at the graph for just RG/needs ID observations? On the other hand, a lot of iNat users post house or garden plants and might be curious about when they flower under those cultivated conditions. Should there be a way to separate these into two graphs?


Here are some links to make exploring this issue easier:

taxon page:

clicking April/flowering:

uncheck the Verifiable filter:

For me I see 823 observations when I uncheck the verifiable box. I wonder if that last missing one could be related to this bug report: do you see 823 observations when you log out of your iNat account?


Huh, that’s odd - yes, I get 823 when logged out, but consistently only 821 when logged in (817 unreviewed and 4 reviewed). There should be 824.


in the Explore screen, you’re filtering by North America. if you clear that filter, you should get 823.


That works, thanks! It also demonstrates another inconsistency between the default settings. I am aware that you can filter for place to get the phenology graph for a certain location but I did not realize that the filters were set differently for the graph and the list of plants that you get when you click on the graph.

Wait, how do I get the phenology graph for a certain location? That would be helpful to look at for stuff that occurs at a wide range of latitudes.

  1. Go to the desired taxon page.
  2. Click “Filter by Place” at top right.
  3. Enter the place you want to restrict your search to, e.g. “California” or “Mongolia”
  4. All the summary info should now be specific to that place (i.e. Top Observer, Top Identifier, Last Observation, Total Observations, plus all the graphs below.

Please fill out the following sections to the best of your ability, it will help us investigate bugs if we have this information at the outset. Screenshots are especially helpful, so please provide those if you can.

Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Website

App version number, if a mobile app issue (shown under Settings or About):

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) : Chrome

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages:

Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices:
Image 1:
Image 2:

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1: Select Plant Phenology tab, hover over November. Popup indicates there are 5 observations without annotations. (Image 1)

Step 2: Click gear icon and select "Add Annotations … " (Image 2)

Step 3: Resulting new browser tab shows no observations. This is actually the correct answer since I have personally added annotations to all 15 observations of this taxon.

It is disappointing that the Plant Phenology tab appears to be providing the wrong output since this data (as outlined in a recent post) could provide useful information about speciation and impacts of climate change.

It’s likely to just be slower to show changes as many other parts of website, if annotations were added just now, try waiting an hour or more and check again if numbers are changed then.

I understand that updates to this could be slower but my annotations were added at least 4 hours ago.

Let’s hope, I don’t think there’s another explanation, maybe some kind of reindexing could force it to change, I’m not into coding, but as it doesn’t show mistakes and only not shows changes, it’s connected to this problem.

The display includes casual observations and there are 8 Lobivia cardenasiana observations with no pictures so it is technically correct for what it is plotting. It seems like it should at most include only verifiable observations (captive phenology could be a mixture of not relevant indoor and relevant outdoor observations but at least its possible to correctly annotate it, which it isn’t if there are no pictures)

Thanks for providing the explanation.

So the charts are correct but possibly can be considered misleading. Perhaps there ought to be some way of indicating this and filtering out the non-verifiable observations. (As you probably saw those 8 observations are actually mine that I’d forgotten about.)

Right a toggle for verifiable/verifiable if not captive could be better. I don’t think completely non-verifiable stuff should be included at all because 1.) who is reviewing it and 2.) If someone has voted ‘date is inaccurate’ it really shouldn’t show, as glancing at the phenology graphs is one of the few ways to get a pretty good idea of whether the date is accurate from a picture. In fact, I actually have used the phenology graphs as a way to search for candidate mis-IDs, in the same way the maps can be used to look for geographical mis-ID candidates.

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(I merged this into an existing bug report)

Perhaps this should now be promoted to a Feature Request?

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