Illinois Flower Phenology Annotation Blitz

Hi! Looking for an indoor activity? I thought it would be cool to look at flowering phenology trends on iNaturalist observations in Illinois over time, but to do that, we need to annotate those observations as to whether they have flowers budding, flowering, or fruiting.

You can head to the Identify page, click on one of the cards, and select the Annotations tab at the top of the page.

From there, use keyboard shortcuts to make annotation go quicker!

p then u to mark it as flowers budding
p then l to mark it as flowering
p then r to mark it as fruiting
p then n to mark as not budding, flowering, or fruiting

Wait a moment for it to save, then press the right arrow key to move on to the next one.
Dicentra cucullaria by @sedge

A few points:
  • Remember that some plants can be both budding and flowering at the same time, or even all three! So you can annotate an observation with all three options.
  • It's a bit confusing, but there is no need to additionally press the "Agree"/thumbs up button after you add the annotation.
  • Try changing the sort order from newest first to oldest first, or even random.
  • Still stuck? Here's another tutorial and longer page about annotations, but also feel free to ask questions in the comments below.
  • Have a question about a particular example? Use the comments below to link to them or feel free to @ tag some local plant nerds like myself in the comments on the observation.
As of 29 March 2020, there are:
  1. 1,576 observations of "spring wildflowers" unannotated in Illinois for the months of January - March
  2. 18,763 observations of "spring wildflowers" unannotated in Illinois for the months of January - May
  3. 184,871 observations of all flowering plants in Illinois that are unannotated (and 14,000 are annotated!)

Happy annotating!
—cassi
Posted by bouteloua bouteloua, March 29, 2020 16:21

Comments

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We're up several hundred annotations, now to 14,639 Illinois observations annotated with flowering phenology! Thanks everyone!

Posted by bouteloua over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Thanks for the brilliant idea! We are doing the same thing here in Vermont now. https://vtecostudies.org/blog/join-our-spring-wildflower-phenology-annotation-blitz/. I had to use your "spring wildflower" list to make it easy for users here to find most of them here too as I didn't have time to make one for Vermont, or even know where to begin to be honest! Thanks again!

Posted by kpmcfarland over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Awesome! We've definitely got a lot of floral overlap so the list should work on a pinch. :) Happy spring!

Posted by bouteloua over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Thanks to all the annotators we now have 15,279 observations of Illinois plants marked as budding, flowering, or fruiting! Over a thousand annotations added in just the past few days! Here's a link to keep track: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=35&term_id=12

There's no easy way to find out who's helping out with this effort (no leaderboards like there are with IDs and observations), but just want to call out a few people I've noticed adding annotations - apologies if I've missed you!

Thanks so much to: @davidenrique @eattaway92 @k2018lena @kkucera @missgreen @peterwchen @tsn @upular and more!

Posted by bouteloua over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Thanks!
So... I have a question. Is there some sort of policy about what flower budding vs. flowering really means? Specifically, what should we do with composite flowers like in the asteraceae or the araceae? I've been treating the entire inflorescence as the "flower" even though I'm well aware that the entire inflorescence is made up of dozens/hundreds of little flowers. I figure that's the way to go, but is there an official stand on this?

Posted by davidenrique over 1 year ago (Flag)
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There are some basic "phenophase" definitions here:
https://www.usanpn.org/files/shared/files/Plant%20and%20Animal%20Phenophase%20Definition%20Supplement.pdf#page=8

For composite flowers I consider the individual flowers, you can have the ray petals/ligules present and showy, but the tiny flowers have not yet reached anthesis.

Similar commonly confused cases are plants with showy bracts, like Cornus florida. The bright white bracts may be visible, but the flowers haven't yet opened.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/60118 (budding)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24690447 (flowering and budding)

For many situations it can be difficult to tell from a typical iNat photo which phase(s) it's in.

Posted by bouteloua over 1 year ago (Flag)
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I just realized this morning we now have a "no evidence of flowering" option under "plant phenology"!! So we can sort beautiful leaf shots, sprouts, etc, out from the un-annotated photos that might have flowers, buds, or fruits!

Posted by k2018lena over 1 year ago (Flag)
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Yes! Super happy they finally added that.

Posted by bouteloua over 1 year ago (Flag)
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holy heck it's up from 15k to >26k observations annotated with flowering phenology in Illinois! what a nice dataset

Posted by bouteloua about 1 year ago (Flag)
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I knocked out Mertensia virginica (at least I had as of a few days ago) . Not sure I really got them all right, so will gladly change if someone suggests different. I'm going for the Dicentra cucullaria now. I am tackling the flowers that make me smile and what is there not to like about little pants hanging out on the clothes line?

Posted by k2018lena about 1 year ago (Flag)
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wow, we're up to 41k annotated now! very cool

Posted by bouteloua 7 months ago (Flag)

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