logo Calflora Add Records from iNaturalist Help
Updated March 24, 2022
Use the Add Records from iNaturalist application to add records from iNaturalist to Calflora. If you are an iNaturalist contributor, you can add your own iNat records to Calflora.

This application can also help round out Calflora's geographical coverage of various wild plants. There are presumably gaps in what is documented on Calflora concerning the range of some plants. You may find a credible record on iNaturalist that documents a range extension of a wild plant -- if so, you can use this application to add it to Calflora.

If you are an iNaturalist contributor and want to find your own records, enter your iNaturalist handle in the iNaturalist Handle field.

Enter Scientific Name to find records of a certain plant.

Varieties and Subspecies:
In iNaturalist, a user can record an observation of a subspecies or variety of a plant, but the system does not include the variety or subspecies tag (var., ssp. or subsp.) in the scientific name. So for instance
    Eriogonum umbellatum var. furcosum
appears in iNauralist as
    Eriogonum umbellatum furcosum
With this application, you can search iNaturalist for varieties and subspecies. For instance, if you were to enter Eriogonum umbellatum var. furcosum in the Scientific Name field, it will actually search iNaturalist for Eriogonum umbellatum furcosum. If it finds any records of that plant, it will display the name as Eriogonum umbellatum var. furcosum, to be consistent with the way scientific names are handled in Calflora.

Plant List
Choose one of your lists to search for all plants on the list.

Start Date and End Date:
Enter 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.

To find records from a certain area, zoom the map into that area, and check in map area.

Error Radius:
Most iNaturalist records have an error radius, but some do not. Check error radius to limit search results to records that have an error radius within a certain number of meters. The error radius of each record is displayed in the results.

Obscured Records:
Note that the locations of some records have been automatically obscured by iNaturalist. You can tell a record that has been obscured by looking at the error radius. A high value for error radius (> 20,000 meters) most likely means it has been obscured. If the location of a record has been obscured, you will not be able to add it to Calflora using this application.

Here is another way to get a copy of your iNaturalist record into Calflora: make a new record on Calflora with Plant Observation Entry, and then copy the coordinates and the plant name from your iNaturalist record.

Maximum Number of Records; Search Strategies:
This application can will read a maximum of 1800 records from the iNaturalist API per search. However, if some of those 1800 have already been added to Calflora, you will not see them; you will only see those which have not yet been added to Calflora. To work around this limit, here are some suggested search strategies:

  1. Search for one plant at a time.
  2. If you are looking for all plants in an area, zoom in close. Or, use other criteria to limit the number of records -- for instance, search for records made after a certain date.

This application will find

  • Research grade records.
  • Records of wild plants made in California.
  • Records with a CC license on both the photo and the observation.
This application will not find
  • Records of rare plants.
  • Records already assimilated into Calflora.
To see records of a particular plant already in Calflora, click the ID to open a menu and click location-closeup.

Adding a Record to Calflora
The results of your search appear in a table and on the map. iNaturalist observations are indicated by an orange icon on the map.

Once you are seeing some results, click the ID to open a menu. In this menu:

detail See this observation on the iNaturalist website.

location-closeup See the location of the this observation in the Plant Distribution application, along with any nearby records of the same plant already on Calflora.

add to Calflora Add the record to Calflora with its photo.

Once the record is in Calflora, you will be the owner, and you will be able to find it in My Observations -- the ID is the same but with "in:" in front. You cannot edit the Calflora version of this record, but you can delete it from My Observations.

Photos: When a record is added to Calflora, a single photo (the first available) is included. In Observation Search results, the "small" version of the photo is shown; see this search for Vaccinium ovatum. On the Observation Detail page, the full size version of the photo is shown, and there is a link to the iNaturalist page for this observation where any other photos will be visible.

Viewing Current Distribution
If you searched for a particular plant, then you can overlay Calflora's current distribution of the plant on top of the map. If any of your iNaturalist records are already in Calflora, you should be able to find them by doing this. This can also make it easier to see where an iNaturalist record indicates an extension of the known range. To do so, open Current Distribution and check individual observations.

The Monthly Feed from iNaturalist
Once a month, some records of wild plants in California are automatically assimilated into Calflora from iNaturalist. This process tries to find records where the location is feasible, and the distribution of the plant is currently under-documented on Calflora. More details about how this works are available in About Datasets.

Several people who contribute to both iNaturalist and Calflora have been disappointed not to see their iNaturalist records appear automatically on Calflora. This application will allow them to bring important iNaturalist records into Calflora.


• March, 2022:   v. 0.55 New search criterion: Plant List.

• February, 2022:   v. 0.54 The maximum number of records read from the iNaturalist API increased from 600 to 1800.

• March, 2021:   v. 0.53 It is possible to search for subspecies and varieties.

• January, 2020:   v. 0.46 When an iNaturalist contributor has added their real name to their iNaturalist account, this application will use that real name as the value of Observer if it is available. In earlier versions, this application used the contributor's iNaturalist handle as the value of Observer.

• December, 2019:   v. 0.44

• November, 2019:   v. 0.40