logo Calflora Weed Entry Help
The Weed Entry application lets you enter and edit an observation of a non-native wild plant. To use the application, you need to be registered as a contributor.

To enter a new record, press the button. Click on the map to indicate the location . Type in the first few letters of the scientific name of the plant. After three letters, a list of matching genera will appear. You can choose the genus from the list, and then type in a few letters of the species, or just keep typing.

Choose a value for Ownership, indicating your best determination of who owns the land. Enter an observation date in the form 2014-12-31, or press the today link, or press the calendar link to choose the date from a calendar. Enter the Number of Plants you saw at this location. The rest of the fields are optional, and explained below. When you are finished, press the button at the top.

If you already have coordinates, check Specify location by coordinates. If you have decimal lat/long coordinates, enter them, and press . If you have UTM coordinates, press UTM Coordinates, enter the Zone, Easting and Northing, and press .  

Line or Polygon:
Press SHAPE at the top to enter a line or polygon describing the extent of the plant population you are reporting. The shape drawing panel opens in the top right of the page. Choose polygon or line, then press . At this point, each click on the map becomes a vertex of the shape you are drawing. (Dragging the map has no effect on the shape.) Press when you are done. Press if you need to add more vertices, or delete vertices, or move vertices.

Press ADD / VIEW PHOTOS to attach a photo "voucher" to your observation record, either by 1. uploading a photo from your computer, or 2. pasting in the URL of your photo already on the web. A description of the process is in FAQ - About Contributing Observations.

The elevation in meters of the point you selected on the map . is automatically filled in on the record whenever you save a record. It is also displayed at the bottom of the page. (Press lookup elevation to find the elevation of the current point immediately.) The elevation value is obtained from the Google Maps Elevation API.

Where to Find Your Records:
Any observation you enter with this application will immediately appear in the My Observations application. If you set Access by other users to public, then other Calflora users will also be able to find and view your observation record with the various search tools.


Access by other users
When a record is published, other Calflora users can see it. When a record is unpublished, nobody can see it except the person who entered it. Some contributors choose to work on certain records over time in an unpublished state, and then publish those records only when they are ready.

Records submitted via the upload application or the phone application arrive into the database in an unpublished state, and must be explicitly published by the person responsible before other users can see them.


Scientific Name
The scientific name of the plant observed. Typeahead is enabled for typical invasive plants -- type the first few letters, then choose the name from the popup list.

Note that genus is capitalized. For instance:

    Acacia dealbata

This field will accept only the full scientific name of a plant already in the database, or the word unknown. If you have alternate scientific names or other notes, please put them in the Comments field.

If you wish to enter the scientific name of a plant that is not yet in the database (for instance, a new weed), put a * (star) just in front of the plant name, as the first character in the field. You can also use * (star) to enter genus-only names. For instance, to indicate some plant in the genus Acacia, enter:



Common Name
The common name of the plant observed. Typeahead is enabled for typical invasive plants -- type the first few letters, then choose the name from the popup list.

Note that Common Name is for plant lookup only, and is not stored on the observation record.


Observation Date
Date the plant was observed, in the form YYYY-MM-DD. For example, 2009-01-15.

Press today for today's date. Press calendar to choose the date from a calendar.


The primary habitat type infested by the weed at this location.

  • Forest: Tree-dominated, generally with a closed canopy (e.g., redwood forest, eucalyptus grove)
  • Open Woodland: Tree-dominated, but with open areas between the trees (e.g., oak woodland)
  • Scrub/Shrubland: Shrub-dominated, with few or no trees (e.g., coastal scrub, chaparral)
  • Grassland / Open Field: Grass-dominated, with few to no shrubs or trees
  • Stream bank / bed: The banks or dried bed of a stream, creek or river
  • Wetland: Herbaceous-plant-dominated, with standing water at least part of the year and wetland indicator plants (e.g., cattails, rushes, pickleweed marsh, vernal pool)
  • Open Water: Pond, lake, river, estuary, etc.
  • Beach / Dune: Generally some open sand, or there would be if not infested with iceplant or European beachgrass
  • Planted (Lawn, crop, etc.): An area purposely planted for agricultural, recreational or ornamental use.

Infested Area
The area of ground covered by the weed if there were no spaces between the plants. (This area can be expressed in acres, hectares, square feet or square meters.)

square feet
square yards
square meters
square feet
square yards
square meters

Gross Area
The area of ground covered by the weed, if you drew an imaginary line around the outer boundary of the population. (This area can be expressed in acres, hectares, square feet or square meters.)


Canopy Closure (AKA Percent Cover)
If you drew an imaginary line around the outer boundary of the population, the Canopy Closure is the amount of ground actually covered by the plant, expressed as a percent.

0 - 1trace
1 - 5
5 - 25
25 - 50
50 - 75
75 - 95
95 - 100


The life stage of the plant (or majority of plants in the population) at time of observation.

  • Seedling / rosette: Young, non-reproductive growth
  • Bolting: When the flowering stalk begins to shoot up in plants with a basal rosette of leaves (thistles or mustards, for example)
  • Flowering: In bud or flower
  • Fruiting: Setting seed or fruit
  • Dead / skeleton: Dried/dead plant or dormant perennial
  • Leafing out: Producing new leaves (for deciduous perennial plants such as tree of heaven)
  • Mature: A perennial plant NOT in one of the above stages
  • Vegetative: A perennial plant with no reproductive structures present.


The distribution of the plant across the landscape.


The land owner, manager, or steward. If an population covers land with multiple owners, please choose the one with the most infested land. For populations on private land, please have the landowner's permission.


If a specimen was collected, the name of the herbarium where it is stored.


Location Description
A brief description of where the weed is. Please include landmarks and/or directions to the site.


Anything else you would like to report about the weed or site, such as associated plant species.


Latitude and Longitude
The center of the population in decimal latitude and longitude, NAD83 datum (WGS84). (This datum is available on most GPS units and used by some recent maps.)


The person who observed the population. If you are adding an observation, the observer will be yourself.


For records added through this application, the value of Source is the institution with which the Observer is affiliated, if any. If the Observer is affiliated with the Bay Area Early Detection Network, the value of Source should include "BAEDN."

For other records, the Source is the name of the institution which contributed the record to Calflora.


Use this field to divide your records up into various collections. Or, simply include search terms in the value of this field that will make it possible to categorize records later. For instance, if this record is part of a particular data collection project, put the name of the project here (e.g. Neighborhood annual weeds, Spring 2013). Or, put good photo as the value of this field for all of your records that have particularly good photos; then you can search for them later.


Location Accuracy
An estimate of the accuracy of the location coordinates, expressed as an area in square meters. For instance, if the location accuracy is set to 100 square meters, then the idea is that the real point is somewhere within that 100 square meter area.

When you specify location by picking a point on the map, location accuracy depends on the zoom level of the map when the record is first entered.

When GPS equipment is used to find a point, the location accuracy will depend on the quality of the equipment, conditions at the time the point was taken, as well as any methods employed to correct or verify the coordinates.

To specify location accuracy, press the Specify link. In the panel that opens, you can choose an accuracy range, such as 100 square meters. Or, you can enter the radius of a circle around the point, and calculate location accuracy as the area of that circle.
Radius Area
Square Meters
Square Meters
Square Meters


Number of Plants
Either an estimated range of the number of plants at this location (within the Gross Area, as stated), or an exact count. If you know the exact count, enter it by clicking in the text area and typing in the value. Otherwise, choose a range from the drop down list.

Special values:

    1: exactly one plant.

    0: no plants; absent.

    1+: at least one plant. This is the default value for older records.

Note: To document the absence of a plant, set Number of Plants to 0, and draw a polygon describing the area where you searched for the plant.  

Combo box controls
When you are entering a new record or editing and existing record, click in the text area of a combo box control to bring up a drop-down list box of values. You can choose one of the values from the list. Or, click in the text area again to make the list box disappear, and then type in a value that is not on the list.

Combo boxes are a way to accomodate diverse values for a field, where the values are mostly informational.

So for instance, with the Number of Plants field, if you guess that there are between 11 and 50 plants in the area, then choose the value 11 - 50 from the drop down list. Otherwise, if you counted exactly 23 plants in the area, type in the number 23.

Contributing organizations and individual contributors have a variety of ways of articulating their data. The use of combo boxes allows Calflora to preserve original values as much as possible.