Mission: Impossible - Identify Plantae in Africa

Found this observation of some kind of plant with a big purple… something in the middle. Afraid to call it a flower because I’m not sure if its an angiosperm or not. Any ideas?

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/91511229

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Huge apologies but life has been way too busy to do much here but I was just curating the Unknowns and State of Matter project as I regularly do to get rid of

and I found a certain Tony is no longer in the top five of leader boards - I had to give it a second look. They are now 96th on the leader board with only 188 qualifying observations. I’m impressed by everyone’s efforts.

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At the start of the last week we have our second last update. The number of Unknown obs have been obliterated in a big ID effort at the end of last week! Most seem to have shifted into the upper categories of Flora of Africa, which have been going down again over the weekend: a good sign. Obs leaving Species level have continued at the rate of previous weeks with the number reducing by 2000!

Time for a last push before the end of the month and we’ll have a nice wrap up post to end it all off. Good luck with the week!


Change in observations per week in thousands for Africa excluding the Cape (counts including Cape in brackets).

Counts shown as change relative to start of each week
Start Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Not in Flora of Africa
  Plantae at Kingdom 20.7 (28.5) -4.7 (-5.1) -4.6 (-4.9) -1.0 (-1.8) -0.6 (-0.9)
  Unknowns 10.5 (15.1) -3.1 (-3.4) -1.1 (-2.0) -0.9 (-2.1) -5.0 (-6.6)
Flora of Africa
  Phylum to Class 37.3 (54.9) +5.2 (+5.4) +2.3 (+3.6) -0.4 (+0.6) +3.4 (+4.6)
  Dicots 18.9 (28.0) +4.0 (+4.1) +4.2 (+5.2) +1.1 (+2.1) +3.9 (+4.8)
  Subclass to Subtribe 50.3 (99.0) +0.8 (+0.7) +0.9 (+1.7) +0.6 (+0.8) +0.7 (+0.7)
  Genus to Complex 129.6 (315.4) +0.8 (+0.7) +1.2 (+0.9) +0.4 (+0.6) +0.1 (-0.1)
  Species and lower 180.0 (363.5) -1.4 (-2.0) -0.7 (-1.8) -1.6 (-2.6) -1.4 (-2.0)
Captive
  Unknowns 4.0 (9.4) -0.3 (-0.3) -0.1 (-0.2) -0.1 (-0.2) -0.0 (-0.0)
  Plantae 75.8 (179.1) +0.3 (+0.5) +0.3 (+0.3) +0.5 (+1.1) +0.3 (+0.6)

Observations not in Flora of Africa. Black lines are including the Cape

Change in observations in Flora of Africa, relative to start of project.

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Encouraging to see the species moving to RG. That feeds into the next CV update.

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Just saw that someone who identified many “unknowns” to mostly “dicots” has deleted his account - and all his ids and comments are gone…

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Not just an African impact unfortunately! I miss the past hard work, and I appreciate the immediate efforts of many others to try to refill the sudden void. My particular thanks this week to @nikibifrost and @muddytortoise and @peakaytea who have filled in for my now-missing tag team partner at the Life and “variable species” levels. Notifications welcome, to see all that happening. :)

Meanwhile in Africa, personally I feel like I need some more time anyway until certain main families or tribes start to “click” for me in the photos. Should we extend the mission a couple weeks or so? Or is it already tiring out folks so that it’s time to look back?

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39 posts were merged into an existing topic: Identifiers as Volunteer Curators, and Obs with Probs

I think it is as good a time as any to wrap up the ‘mission’ part of the project. Anyone is of course welcome to continue working on it, but I feel like we can gather some useful insights from the past month. Maybe to turn the thread/project to a more general ‘ID’ing in Africa’ focus than a time limited challenge so to speak?

I’ll post a final numbers update tomorrow but you (or anyone else) are of course welcome to continue tracking or updating :)

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I hope that some of the new African plant identifiers might continue to ID, in their own slice and their own time - what is interesting and rewarding for them. I have done another 2K or so IDs in August. Time to change gear and slow down for me.

I will still clear the African Pre-Mavericks - less than 300 left.

Does the deleted account explain why I had 500 notifications on Monday? That made me rethink my iNat usage and the years I have spent here.

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Thanks a bunch for the moderation operation!

Back in Africa here, I hope to take a sort of narrative look back on the month over the weekend, plus I have a direct analogy of the identification process to certain chemical kinetics principles(!) where I can show some diagrams. ( @tonyrebelo that’s what’s up with my cryptic “activation barriers” comment on one of your obs just now. ;) )

Relatedly, I left a lot of Tony’s obs in a “to do” state so I’ll be doing some other planned steps through Sept on those at least!

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Here we have the final update for the month! Firstly a big thanks to everyone who helped to contribute, in ways big or small. Your help is appreciated and maybe you even learned a thing or two about the flora of africa! :) The project also seems to have sparked discussions on best practices which will hopefully lead to fruitful results down the line.

Now for some highlights from the data: Thanks to a large push at the end of the month the number of Unknowns uploaded prior to 01-05-2023 has been reduced to zero from 10.5k ! I first thought it was an error in my links but it is true. Number of obs stuck at Kingdom Plantae has been reduced by 13 000 (63 %). Not a lot of movement in Casual obs, but the increasing number seems to indicate that some additional garden plants have been marked captive. Then lastly more than 5900 obs have been moved to research grade in Africa (excluding the Cape floristic region)! Although percentage-wise this might not seem like a lot (3.3 %), considering the time and level of knowledge needed to definitively ID these sometimes obscure or poorly documented species, I feel that it is something we can be incredibly proud of.

I will be saying goodbye to this project for now (I do have a thesis I need to write…) but I hope to see some you in the dicots of Tanzania or the thorn trees in Namibia.

Take care!


Number of observations in thousands for Africa excluding the Cape (counts including Cape in brackets).

02-08-2023 01-09-2023
Not in Flora of Africa
  Plantae at Kingdom 20.7 (28.5) -13.0 (-15.8)
  Unknowns 10.5 (15.1) -10.5 (-15.1)
Flora of Africa
  Phylum to Class 37.3 (54.9) +12.1 (+16.8)
  Dicots 18.9 (28.0) +14.9 (+18.9)
  Subclass to Subtribe 50.3 (99.0) +3.4 (+4.6)
  Genus to Complex 129.6 (315.4) +2.2 (+2.2)
  Species and lower 180.0 (363.5) -5.9 (-9.3)
Captive
  Unknowns 4.0 (9.4) -0.5 (-0.4)
  Plantae 75.8 (184.0) +1.6 (+2.9)

Observations not in Flora of Africa. Black lines are including the Cape


Change in observations in Flora of Africa, relative to start of project.

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Thank you so much for all your summary posts!

And wow, everyone accomplished quite a lot in a month - NO older Unknowns left? That’s astonishing.

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I put the raw data in a comment in the journal post if anyone wants to have a look themselves https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/83883-final-numbers-update-2023-09-01#comments

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Back at the beginning of August I was pegging away.
Thanks to August identifiers. Who have become September identifiers.
Today my African Unknowns are zero! Never thought I’d see the day.

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Thanks for the nudge about those Araceae.

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This is the first half of what I was waiting for. The last 10 August days will be in the next / October update.

https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/84723-a-new-computer-vision-model-v2-7-including-1-785-new-taxa
trained on data exported last month on August 20th

The URL is clunky - but if you start from the internal Plantae link. Then filter for Africa. iNat has added a perfect one hundred plant sp for Africa!

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Wow, that’s great!

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Deliberately adding an incorrect ID to an observation is a violation of iNat terms of service

If it is not Life.
Then it is No Evidence of Life. And that is wrong in my book.

But I will no longer mark them ‘Good as can be’ as that is generating broad planty IDs at Casual. Which serves no useful purpose.

Marking a photo of a plant as no evidence of life is a violation of the iNat terms of service.

I was looking for a link, and saw these instructions that violated TOS, and was concerned someone might come along later and read them without context