Calflora Observation Hotline Help
The Observation Hotline application lets you search for georeferenced plant observations and see them on a map. It also show photos associated with observations.

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). The results appear simultaneously as points on the map and in a table below the map.

If you click on a point on the map, the point is highlighted, the table scrolls down to the corresponding record, and the record ID is highlighted. If you click on a record ID in the table, the corresponding map point is highlighted, 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).

Open the Markers panel to control what symbols are used to indicate a point observation (default ) or a shape observation (line or polygon) (default ).

The database contains line and polygon data describing the distribution of certain weeds. (The Plant Distribution application can show lines and polygons for a particular plant, and there is a link to Plant Distribution from each Taxon Report page -- for example, here is the link to Plant Distribution for Cytisus scoparius, scotch broom.)

This application can show at most 800 observation simultaneously. If a particular search produces more, the application will only show the first 800. In these cases it is possible to turn on density filtering, which restricts dense concentrations of observations to a single observation per cell. This might be useful, for instance, for getting a sense of the overall distribution of a particular plant. To turn on density filtering, open the Density panel and select a cell size.

To show results in a table, the application comes with several column sets, such as Basic Data and Weed Data. You can also make up a custom column set.

For more information about background layers, see Layer Help.

Other Data Sources

By default, a search from this application will only look at the Calflora observation table. Open the Other Data Sources panel to include data from Calflora checklists, or from other sources including the Consortium of California Herbaria, What's Invasive, and iNaturalist (either research or casual grade).

What's Invasive records are considered to be anonymous citizen science, which means simply that the observer is not available. (On the other hand, many What's Invasive records include a photo which is clearly of the plant in question.) iNaturalist casual grade means records contributed to iNaturalist which have not yet met the iNaturalist criteria for research grade.

Group Criteria

If you are a contributor and are a member of any groups, you can open the Group Criteria panel in order to select just records from one of your groups, or to include unpublished records from one of your groups, or both.


Anything of interest about the plant or site.

Common Name
The common name of the plant observed.

Location Description
A brief description of where the plant is.

Observation Date
Date the plant was observed. Dates are kept in the database in the form YYYY-MM-DD; for example, 2012-12-31.

Name of the person who observed the plant.

The organization(s) responsible for the record. This might include both the organization that paid for the survey and the organization that did the field work. The contributing organization is listed first. For instance

    SFPUC; Nomad Ecology

If this record is part of a particular data collection project, put the name of the project here.


The scientific name of the plant observed, without authors and with only the genus capitalized. For instance

    Acacia dealbata