Frank Lyne

Joined: May 18, 2018 Last Active: Mar 13, 2020

I am a farmer and wood carver living in South Logan County, KY. I learned of iNaturalist from Dr Dwayne Estes who also encouraged me to join it as a way to help document the biodiversity, and in particular the plant life of the Pennyroyal Plain. Before European settlement, my local neighborhood had a vastly different plant community than it has today. No one can say with certainty exactly what might have been growing in any specific grain field or Wal-mart parking lot before 1800, but many early eye witness accounts do say that this area included wide sweeps of open grassland, and up to this very day, tiny corners can be found that harbor some semblance of a grassland community, if one looks hard enough. Looking for and documenting such things was and is my primary reason for joining to iNaturalist.

I think iNaturalist has a long way to go before becoming a satisfactory tool for plant identification. Its primary shortfall is that the photos observers choose to upload frequently do not contain enough information to separate similar species from one another. Case in point - ironweeds. There are several ironweed species that might potentially be found in my area. One of them is Missouri Ironweed. A distinguishing characteristic of this species is supposed to be obvious resin glands on the leaf undersides. I've searched through multiple research grade Missouri Ironweed observations on iNaturalist and have yet to find any that include photos that show this distinguishing characteristic, therefore I don't know what these resin glands should look like. I could list many other examples of subtle characteristics that need to be shown for nailing an ID, but are so often not shown that one gets tired of looking without ever finding something here that is helpful in pinning down an ID.

When my own photos don't have enough information to nail down an ID, it's because I may not know, when in the field taking photos, exactly what I'll need to pin down an ID. The professional botanists who post here don't have that excuse, yet they are often the worst offenders when it comes to posting observations that are of little value in helping anyone else identify the organisms that are the subjects of their observations.

Here is my ebird profile - https://ebird.org/profile/NDQ0MjI5/US

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