Should I mark phenology tags based off whats actually in the photos?

I have been adding flowering phenology tags and observation field tags for fruiting on other people’s observations and I got a private message of someone that was annoyed that I marked his observation with “dehisced fruit only” fruiting (phenology) in the observation field. the observation had 2 photos, one of the flower and one of the dehisced seed pods. He said I shouldn’t have it as what i did because it is possible that it was still fruiting.

should I mark tags on what i see in the photos or not tag them for the possibility of the plant doing something else? The same conundrum is sort of present with no evidence of flowering tag because the plant could be flowering but the observer happen of not take photos of it.


Describe what is in the photo(s), not what could eventually happen (or never happen) 6 months later.


Mark what can be seen. If it’s doing something else and no-one else can see it, then no-one else can confirm that.

All we have to work with is what’s in the photos.


I’d say it’s more of a problem with people not taking enough photos to fully describe the organism. If someone is that keen on accuracy then maybe you could advise them to improve the quality of their observations. (said as someone who tries to do this but is far from perfect)

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We have asked to be able to annotate single photos.
As it exists, the system is broken.
If I ask for pictures of ‘fruiting’ iNat kindly brings me ALL the pictures from ALL the obs which include fruit (but very few of the 242 obs are annotated for this taxon). Then we must pick thru dozens or hundreds of photos for - Look, at last, a fruit! What I can do, is tweak the taxon pictures, so a good image of fruit is in the visible first few.

I would continue with what you are doing with good intentions. And make a mental list of iNatters to skip over in future. We can annotate your example as flower and fruit, but each only applies to one photo. For the other, it is wrong. Working as intended, sadly.

Or - the observer - would have to deliberately take pictures - flowering only.
And make a fresh obs later - for fruit only. Clunky. I have flowers and fruit here.


I have a question about this word, dehisced. It was unfamiliar to me and so I looked it up and I think (hard emphasis on think) I understand it. Is it what is shown in the second photo here?

(I actually was surprised to see I had annotated that one, fruiting, since there are unopened fruits in other photos.)

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You’ve got it right. Dehiscing refers to the seed pod opening and dispersing seeds


Yes, that would be very helpful. I often combine multiple pictures of a patch of plants and there are often multiple phenology stages present, sometimes buds, flowers, and fruits all in one observation but not necessarily all in one picture (though that happens, too).

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What observation field are you using? I’ve often wished that the plant phenology annotations field included finer options (i.e., unripe fruit, dehisced seeds, etc.)

Mark it as to what you know to be true at the time of the observation (not past or future possibilities). The evidence can be in photos or comments from the observer.

" No Evidence of Flowering" is not actually a phenophase. It was added so that people who routinely mark phenology of a species will not have the observation show up again when they search for observations that are “without annotation”.

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Perhaps someday they will. You can make a feature request.
The problem is in choosing which phenophases to add and all phenophases do not apply to all species.

Rangers in our nature reserves appreciate that - No evidence of flowering - to ID plants out of flower / fruit season. It may not be phenophase, but it is useful.
I think it was added, in response to a request after the first CNC?


The annotations refer to the data in the observation. So if the data in the observation show no evidence of flowering, then that is accurate, even if the plant itself may have been flowering.


Phenology (Fruiting)

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I think most of this is more about the wording of the tag more than anything. some people might think that having the tag somehow lessens their perceived value of the observation. maybe “Only old/dehisced fruit shown” is better.

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