What does "No Evidence of Flowering" mean?

One of the values of the Plant Phenology annotation is “No Evidence of Flowering.” I thought I knew what this meant but the question has come up twice today so I wanted to ask the group: what is the definition of “No Evidence of Flowering.”

Example 1. Suppose a plant has dispersed all of its seed but an empty seed pod remains.

Example 2. Suppose a plant is showing a failed fruiting attempt, that is, the plant has evidently completed the flowering stage but there is no fruit where there should be one.

Example 3. Suppose a plant is showing a flower stalk but no evidence of a flower (as though someone or something had lopped off the flower head).

What is the value of the Plant Phenology annotation (if any) in each case?


The phenology annotation should answer the question “is there a flower in the photo?”. It seems like all 3 examples should be marked as “No Evidence of Flowering”.

With the first 2 examples are you suggesting that since the plant had obviously flowered recently there is “evidence” of flowering?

The intent of the annotation, based on the community asking for it, is to identify if the plant is vegetative only (no evidence of current or previous buds, flowers, or fruits).


#1 could arguably be fruiting if the pod remains (unless “fruited” does not count as “fruiting”, which I could see), but #2 and #3 definitely seem like no evidence of flowering. Then again, my botany knowledge is slim.

[addendum: never mind, @bouteloua’s reply cleared that up re: #1]

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There was a long discussion and the consensus was to rephrase that part of annotation, but it’s still as it is.

Yes, that is the basic question that has been asked.

So then none of the examples have “No Evidence of Flowering,” correct?

Mouseover the annotation and its definition will pop up:


So the #1 example would NOT be “No Evidence of Flowering”, because the empty pod is the remains of a reproductive structure?
Or it WOULD be “No Evidence of Flowering”, because the dried pod doesn’t include the seeds and is no longer considered a reproductive structure without them?

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Check this discussion. https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/plant-phenology-annotation-values/11804


Thank you. I’ve apparently been there & liked one of your replies already, but I didn’t remember it.
Time to re-read it and hope it sticks this time.


This annotation definitely raises questions!.)


I thought it would be very simple, but I too fret over last year’s fruit, spikelets, etc. The plant isn’t currently flowering/fruiting, but there is clear evidence that it did. And sometimes, last year’s fruit still have seeds (always in Carex obnupta, sometimes in others). I’ve been marking them fruiting and hoping people working on phenology will figure out that the species can’t have fruited yet for this year. But I may be doing it wrong.


oooh I’ve been doing this wrong and marking flowering if flowers present and no evidence of flowering if no flowers present but fruiting if fruits present. Is there a url hack to get the obs I marked as ‘no evidence of flowering’?

The easiest way to get at many of them is to think about what sets you have typically been annotating- one’s you’ve id’ed, or say all the records in your region? If the first case, filter a search in the Identify modal for just Reviewed, and filter for the annotation type you want to look back through. Then, add the filter for “Date Updated” Descending, and that will bring you back through the ones you are likeliest to have touched recently.

(Yeah I know this because I have had to fix my own mistakes heh.)

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Like @lotteryd said, go to identify & check reviewed.

I then added &term_id=12&term_value_id=21 to the end of the URL, as per the search wiki:

Seems to work, though I’m not 100% sure because I don’t use that annotation much (so I don’t know if it’s missing anything).

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I would choose not to annotate any of those examples with a plant phenology annotation. I think the intent of “no evidence of flowering” was to accommodate vegetative/juvenile-stage plants (although that prompts question, why the odd phrasing?). Why this is even a “phenology” annotation, I cannot say. Might have more to do with some humans’ psychological desire to completely check boxes than plants’ life histories.

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BTW annotation does not mark the obs as reviewed, so if you are just blasting through a whole set without id’ing them, the Reviewed filter would not be a good method to pull them back up.

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Good point. Probably explains why I had so few results…not only do I rarely use this annotation, but I wasn’t accounting for cases where I’d only annotated it without IDing or reviewing.

Thankfully, I was only working in one species so it ended up being not that bad to go fix them