Empty seed pods that can travel hundreds of miles

Hello,
I am reviewing reports of Trapa species, a genus of floating annual plants that produce woody seed pods sort of like a chestnut, but with nasty spikes. In the Trapa genus ripe seed pods sink to the bottom. In the spring the seed germinates and the spent seed pod floats away. These seed pods are capable of floating long distances, it seems even a few hundred miles, away from the plants that produced them. In North America where the genus Trapa has two representatives, both highly invasive, we would like to have the map points represent actual plants, not seed pods that washed up on a beach a hundred miles away! Perhaps I should vote down something in the Data Quality Section? Location? But the location of the seed pod is accurate, it just doesn’t reflect the location of the parent plant very well. Evidence of organism? I saw an interesting and lengthy discussion similar to this in the forum, but it doesn’t discuss plant parts that can travel far from the parent plants, and to be clear, this is not a living plant part like a seed or spore, it’s a spent seed shell. Thanks!

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I doubt they’ll want you to downvote location for this use case. Rather, your best option is probably to just make sure seed pods are annotated as a different stage of life (seeds, I presume), and then use filters to exclude that stage when you’re assessing the actual distribution of the taxon.

All plants offer is flower budding, flowering, fruiting, or no evidence. OP might have to create a project or observation field to track this.

Empty seed pods aren’t covered by iNat’s annotations. Fruiting means “fruit visible and still attached to the plant” but with an empty seed shell there isn’t even a fruit, much less is it still attached to a plant.

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Yes, you should definitely not downvote in the DQA because it is a seed pod. This is a valid observation by iNaturalist’s standards. Your best option is probably to either use an existing observation field or make a new one if there aren’t any existing ones that fit your needs. You can search existing fields here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observation_fields
There does appear to be an existing “Seed pod” field: https://www.inaturalist.org/observation_fields/7924

As @egordon88 notes, you could use a project with this or some other approach to access observational data.

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Wild. That sounds like if insects only had options for courting, mating, ovipositing, and no evidence, instead of eggs, larvae, pupae, adults, etc. iNat really isn’t optimized for plant work, is it… I get that standardizing life cycles across flowering plants and across a given particular plant is difficult since not everything is doing the same thing at the same time (and I see they don’t even offer life cycle options for poor mosses), but it seems like having some option to annotate seeds / spores, seedlings, etc might be useful.

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I think it’s wild that we can’t annotate arthropod behavior, since that is certainly something worth filtering for research.

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another one we can’t do, is cones for conifers

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Hi everyone, Thanks for the helpful thoughts and the sympathy! I did not realize I could add observation fields to someone else’s observations. There are only 72 observations in North America so far, so this is definitely a workable option. Thanks!

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