logo Calflora Observation Hotline   HELP
The Observation Hotline application lets you search for georeferenced observations of wild plants and see them on a map. It also show photos associated with observations.

If you are having any trouble using this application, please contact Calflora support.
To use the application, click on the map in an area of interest , zoom in, and press . If you want to qualify what observations are returned, enter some criteria, such as Plant Status = native.

Geographical Extent:

    in map area

to limit the search to the current map area.

Or, press DRAW A POLYGON to specify an exact geographical search space.
To find all records in a particular park, press Map Layers at the top of the page, choose Region / Protected Area (CPAD), and then click inside one of the parks or forests that appear on the map. The name of the selected area will appear on the left at the top of the map:
    36.2709, -121.8315         Andrew Molera State Park (CDPR)
Then check
    in selected area
(For more information about background layers, see Layer Help.)
The results appear simultaneously as points on the map and in a table below the map.
On the map,
    indicates a simple point;
    indicates a checklist;
    indicates a line or polygon; and
    indicates a quad (for certain plants in certain areas, only quad-level data is available).
If you click on a point on the map, an InfoWindow opens at the point, the table scrolls down to the corresponding record, and the record ID is highlighted. If you click on a record ID in the table, an InfoWindow opens at the corresponding map point, and a short menu opens up under the record ID.
    Press DETAIL in this menu to see a page showing full details of this record.

    For a point observation , press location-closeup to see a close up view of the record location in the Plant Distribution application, including any nearby observations of the same plant. For a shape observation , press shape-closeup to see a close up view of the record location including the shape (line or polygon).

This application can show at most 2500 observation simultaneously. If a particular search produces more, the application will only show the first 2500.

Choosing Which Columns to Display:
To show results in a table, the application comes with several predefined column sets, such as Basic Data and Weed Data. You can also make up a custom column set: open customize, and choose the columns you want.

    Once you choose a custom column set, it will persist: The next time you use this application from the same browser, it will show your custom column set.

Scientific Name: Typeahead enabled. Type the first few letters of the plant you are looking for, and then choose it from the list. Typeahead also works with Common Name.
    When are alternate scientific names included in a search? When you specify a complete scientific name, such as Frangula californica ssp. tomentella, the search results will also include alternate names of that plant, if they are equivalent. So for instance, a search for Frangula californica ssp. tomentella will include records of Rhamnus tomentella.

    (To see exactly which plant names are included for any particular plant, go to the Taxon Report for the plant, and look at the list of Alternate Names in the Name Status section. See Name Status Help for an explanation of how Calflora tracks accepted and alternate names.)

    A plant name is referred to as a parent when the plant has subspecies or varieties, but they are not present in the name. So for instance, Frangula californica is a parent, because it has several subspecies. When you search for a parent name, all subspecies and varieties are included in the search results. Any alternate names of the parent are also included in the search results, as well as any alternate names of its subspecies and varieties.

Plant List: To limit your search to certain specific plants, choose a plant list. Look for already defined plant lists with the Plant List Definition application, or define your own. Click on the view link to see an illustrated version of the plant list.

Other Data Sources: By default, a search from this application will only consider records contributed directly to Calflora. Open OTHER SOURCES to include data from other sources including the Consortium of California Herbaria and/or iNaturalist. (Note that Consortium records do not have photos, and iNaturalist records almost always have photos.)

records with photos: Check this box if you only want to see records that have photos. Some records have more than one photo, and only the first one is shown in the results -- press DETAIL to see all of the photos for an observation.

Natural Status = wild: This is an implied search criterion. This application only shows records of plants growing wild.

For additional search criteria, open Tools and check Advanced Form.

Start Date, End Date: Use one, or the other, or both of these criteria to bracket the Observation Date of records you are interested in. Dates are entered in the format YYYY-MM-DD so that February 20, 2017 is written as 2017-2-20. If you enter 2017-2-20 as the end date, the result will include records that were entered on or before 2017-2-20. If you put the same date in both Start Date and End Date, the results will only include records entered on that date.

Source: The source organization responsible for collecting the record.

Location: Some observation records have useful information in the Location Description field. Enter a short phrase to find any records that contain that phrase in the Location Description field.


Collection: Some contributors use this field as a way of grouping diverse observation records.

Phenology: Some contributors specify the phenology (for instance, Flowering) of the plant when they enter a record. Use this criterion to find records with a certain phenology.

include checklists: By default, checklist records are included in the results. Uncheck this box if you do not want checklist records to be included.

History Filter: This criterion has two options:
    all records   and   only the most recent
The only the most recent option is relevant when there may be multiple records concerning the condition of a single population over time. When this option has been chosen, a single record (the most recent) will be returned for each population, even if there are many records describing that population.

When this option has been chosen, two columns appear at the beginning of the result set: Root and Most Recent. When historical information is available about a population, the Root record will be the oldest, and the Most Recent record will be the newest. Click on either one to view it in Plant Observation Entry.

When historical information is not available about a population, the record ID appears in the Root column. (When there is only one record of a population, that record is both the earliest and the most recent.) In this way, the record number in the Root column serves as a unique identifier of a population.
Searching within a Background Polygon: There are many background map layers available. If you select one of the following layers, you can search within the selected background polygon:
    Protected Area (CPAD)
    Jepson Bioregion
    CNPS Chapter
    Zip Code
    USGS Quadrangle
in selected area

2016 August This application will only work with search polygons that have fewer than 3,000 vertices.

    If you have a search polygon with more than 3,000 vertices, consider trying to simplify it, or use another approach such as searching in more than one county.

2016 July When you define a custom column set, it is stored in browser memory, and will be used the next time you use this application from the same browser,

    You can now specify more than one county as search criteria.

2015 October When you select a plant list, a view link appears. Click on this link to see an illustrated version of the plant list.

2015 June History Filter included as a selection criterion.

2014 June Map Layers has a new look: open Climate to find a particular climate layer, such as Warm Months. Open Region to find a region layer, such as Watershed.