Mission: Impossible - Identify Plantae in Africa

He has chosen to do it that way because ‘someone’ is monitoring the data.

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Thanks so much for your insight! To try either way for this challenge would be too much work for me for what is supposed to be a fun thing, given my existing skills.

My Plan B was going to be to be to just stick with the Plantae records < 5/1/23 as I had set up, without any Unknown set(s) added. Then, for the Unknown side of things, just watch how the overall count in the project increases during the challenge as a result of Unknown IDers adding their African plant discoveries.

Issue with that plan: The date range option that I used for the collection project appears to be for Date Observed, whereas this challenge will require a Date Added cutoff in order to work. Otherwise, normal “new” observation records of something seen over 3 months ago will all get added accidentally. (And accidentally annoying prominent folks in Africa, I expect.)

I assume you can’t change that date type there so I’ll scrap the collection project.

Plan C: The umbrella project idea using assorted existing projects for appropriate coverage (such as Bob’s and JP’s and Flora of Africa), but only if there’s a way to have a Date Added cutoff for the umbrella. If someone who has one can look at that and let me know if doable for umbrella, that would be great.

Plan D: Construct a few good custom urls and hype them in the thread as Mission Intel or something?

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Do you want to include South Africa?
Currently we dominate those leaderboards for most obs, most species and most observed species (bietou I am looking at you - there are 3 in my garden alone) .
That will skew all your numbers to false optimism.

It is @bobmcd 's Low Growth countries in Africa where the need is greatest.

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Do you mean the “Africa” I typed into the collection project box does not already include that part of the continent? If it doesn’t I really am a noob to this Africa stuff. :/

No - you have included South Africa. But I exclude it when I ID ‘for Africa’

I do the South African ones separately. We have a lot of obs, and that will by volume reduce the help that could go where it is most needed.

This is my oldest Unknown in (Rest of) Africa. 2015. Still waiting. Hopefully. I wonder, grass or orchid. Seems to have been weeded out?

South Africa alone 591K
(PS that project was promptly deleted)

It is your project - so your choice of what you want to focus on.

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Yes he has chosen not to write/run a script to remove them. My point was that traditional projects, unlike collection projects, never automatically remove observations.


Ah, I think that just focusing on selected region(s) would have to be a sequel challenge! In this one I hope we’ll just get more exposure to the plants of Africa in general, and then people will feel like they can go help “in Africa” like they would in some other region. Instead of like, excluding “Africa” from their workfkow because (gulp) that’s a dicot!?

From your own workflow description, I’m thinking that emphasizing “links to id with” should work way better than “link to a large project to id in.” This would solve my date added issue above, as long as all urls included the correct cutoff as a Date Added chunk.

So I’ll forget the umbrella/collection project, go with communicating best-practice id links, and use this thread and the forthcoming training project to do so. Seems a bit easier. Thanks for the inspiration!


There were actually a few that I could help with. Cosmopoiltan weeds, and some where the family is obvious.

[Edit:] Worked better when I filtered it for Araceae. One of my special interests :grin:


Well. Given my lack of knowledge of African plants, I figured I would be most useful trying to get observations ID’d to kingdom, phylum, or class to more useful lower categories. That’s true, of course, but in quickly reviewing over 1,000 observations, I did meaningful ID’s on 1-2%. Humbling.


I used your project for my sample ID link above. Much easier for identifiers to pull the ID link as you offer it - then you can make sure it fits what you want us to do. Tony R for example offers CNC links that are preset to ‘page 10’ so we are not all attacking that First Page and giving the servers indigestion.

And identifiers in turn can use appropriate location filters to suit themselves.

I appreciate a project as a central point to work from.

For @jasonhernandez74 Pre-Maverick Araceae in Africa

@sedgequeen but the humble sings with warm fuzzies when a taxon specialist agrees at my own cautious and tentative level.
Or. We don’t have phlox here, unless it is commonorgarden. Yesterday iNat brought me this https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/591252-Oxalis-phloxidiflora !!

  1. If I added an ID to help Kingdom Disagreements, Pre-Mavericks, or observer / identifier has gone dormant, in the right direction. I comment - Supporting meanwhile.
    Please note that is MY workflow and frowned on by the guidelines.
    I follow my notifications. When my support is no longer necessary for CID, I withdraw (not delete) and comment again - thanks now I can withdraw mine.
    I do not want to appear on a leaderboard where I can’t.

I check each day for (links originally came from @annkatrinrose)

Kingdom Disagreement in Africa

Plant Conflicts in Africa

(5 was @mention - they must see me coming, and hide!)


“phloxidiflora” is a great name for that plant!

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me every day of August 2023 (and every day before and after)

best dicot final

Image description: A meme featuring Rick Harrison from the TV show Pawn Stars and another man, both of whom look skeptical. The caption reads “Best I can do is … Dicot”. End ID.


Question for the experts: many of the ID help links go to plants of South Africa. Is it a good assumption if a plant somewhere else, e.g. in Kenia, looks similar to one found in the guide there, I can assume at least same family? Or are the differences in fauna for South Africa compared to other African countries larger (which would have been my first gut assumption without knowing anything about botanical taxonomy/Africa) and should be treated differently?


The differences are huge, across climate and geology.
But - if you know it’s a daisy - that will go to taxon specialists who will sort it out.
Someone will notice errors on distribution maps, or sweep their taxon.

Try your ID. And respond to notifications. I learn more every day.
(We don’t have saltmarsh asters here - oh yes we do!)

Your profile says orchids and butterflies. You can ID either of those from Pre-Mavericks or Needs ID, if that suits you better than Unknowns. The need for skilled IDs is across the spectrum.
Pre-Maverick orchids in Africa - only a handful waiting.
Needs ID orchids in Africa - almost 4K
Butterflies - 69K

All 3 of those links are from Low Growth countries in Africa - so excluding South Africa.


We don’t really know what it is, but it is blooming (oldest first)

Since I can’t ID much to lower levels, I spent a few minutes looking at stuff still at kingdom Plantae and annotating it as blooming. (I learned that you can’t put on the annotation unless you place an ID of Angiospermae first. Seems silly.)


Good idea to limit the date range: this will hopefully exclude casual observations that are missing dates :)

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Verifiable? Will eliminate missing date or location, while including Not Wild?

Thanks @arboretum_amy skimmed the first page and rescued one to RG which had been waiting 8 years. (Silly is iNat lumping together half of all obs as planty - including moss liverwort fern, red and green, but not brown, seaweed and all the conifers - with the flowering stuff)

  1. You will need a text expander for those repetitive chunks of text with their link to more info. That way you only need to agonise over the kindest and most helpful way to ‘explain that’ once. Without being too tired and disheartened to type it all out again for the umpteenth time. Even if your target doesn’t respond, the advice is there to pay it forward for the next reader.

(6 was Supporting to help, then withdrawn when my support was no longer needed)


In the Mission Intel urls, I’m hoping to set them up with Sort By: Random rather than the default “see new stuff first” or the more hardcore “see old stuff first.” Issue with newest: it will be 3 months old so that recent id’ers may already have looked at it. Issue with the oldest: probably crowded by now with the hard or boring stuff. Normally I’d hesitate to use Random because it would hit the newer plant obs along with the rest and I’d forget to check the date. But we’ll have recent months excluded so it should be OK.

My recent work in Fungi has been enlightening on random mode. I end up pinging years-old observations with experts who had offered comments, but didn’t actually click an id. Sometimes they do add one after the ping!

I’m hoping that by rolling that way in Plantae, we might surface a few potential @ mentions over the course of the month. Any downside to that idea?