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The interesting thing about data, unlike Web pages, when you get data, it's actually much more interesting to you when you join it with and compare to some other data from a completely different source. (Sir Tim Berners Lee on the power of mashing up data)

About Observation Datasets

The Calflora Observation Database is an aggregation of plant observations from numerous sources and datasets. This page describes the meta-data of the observation datasets in the Calflora Observation Database. Data ownership is retained by each data contributor.

Botanical Literature Summary of Reported Ranges

    Data Synopsis
    This dataset began as Data transcribed from Munz' A California Flora and Supplement (1968) by Kwei-Lin Lum as part of her thesis work with Peter J.Richerson at U.C. Davis. (Lum 1975 , Richerson and Lum 1980 ). In compiling species summaries, Calflora translated the abbreviated names and coded data of the Lum/Walker/Munz68 database. Calflora then used data from the CNPS Inventory to update distribution and habitat data for 893 species in the Lum/Walker/Munz68 database and to add records for 849 taxa not already included in that database (that is, infraspecific and new taxa).

    The data was subsequently expanded to include all infraspecific taxa recognized as occurring in California and updated to reflect current nomenclatural usage. Adjustments to distributions for taxa affected by changes in taxonomic delineation (lumps and splits) were made using information from the Jepson Manual (Hickman 1993) to modify existing records. Literature-based distribution data for taxa not previously included in Calflora (mostly infraspecific taxa that are not rare) represent Calflora's interpretation of distribution descriptions in the Jepson Manual.

    ID: lit_summary

    Date first included:
    This data formed the basis of Calflora distributions in the Calflora taxon table from Calflora's inception contained in the fields 'regioncode' and 'region_list'. This coexisted separately from Calflora Observation Database information until subsumed into Calflora Occ.
    Translated into Calflora Observation Database format and included on 19 February 2001.

    Last Update: 19 February 2001

    Total Present Record Count:
       132,661 records.
       598,847 additional records are held in reserve (not included at this time) for county 'absence' data and records modified with CNPS 5th Edition information. Details are recorded in field-by-field notes.

    Updates? No.  This dataset represents the distribution knowledge of California plants known at a particular point in time. It will serve as a historical reference in the future.

    Sampling methods:
    Error characteristics of the occurrence-based distribution data are unknown. Users should make their own decisions on the reliability of data of different types and from different sources. Documentation and source contact information are provided for each occurrence observation.

    For literature-based distribution data, is important to note that the type and rate of errors in geographic distribution are very different for the three major literature sources. Lum was transcribing generalized and sometimes vague range descriptions into concrete presence/absence data for specific county and subcounty regions. For most species, data were not verified with any other source of information and, in addition to coding errors, represent only a best estimate of the range of the species in question. Lum(Lum 1975) showed that while her data are far from error-free, errors of assigning taxa to regions where they do not occur are about equal in number to errors of not assigning taxa to regions where they actually do occur. Consequently, her data produce unbiased and quite accurate estimates of species numbers but somewhat inaccurate species lists for given regions. Regions used to describe plant distributions in The Jepson Manual span multiple counties. Consequently interpretation of Jepson Manual descriptions in terms of presence and absence in particular counties and subcounties is indefinite. All distribution records based on Jepson Manual data are marked in the auth_collector field.

    For species level taxa, the composite literature-based distribution summaries presented in Calflora can be expected to have error characteristics much like those Lum described. It can be expected to perform well for analyzing broad patterns and general relationships, as demonstrated by both Lum and Walker. It clearly performs less well in generating accurate species lists for particular locations, but not so badly that it is not useful for producing preliminary checklists for a variety of applications. For infraspecific taxa, the composite literature-based distribution summaries combine data that tend to underestimate range (CNPS) with data that overestimate range (Jepson Manual). Error characteristics of the combined data are unknown.

    Conversion Notes:
    Details are recorded in field-by-field notes.
    Original Data was stored in Calflora taxon table as a single field concatenation of presence/absence codes mapped by position to subcounty regions (i.e."Abies bracteata" regioncode "F1F1FF..." might be "Alameda county =F(absent), Alpine county = 1 (probably present), ...") This information was based on several sources, the base layer being Munz' A California Flora,subsequently modified by other sources.

    The region code was decompiled to individual species-county occurrences for inclusion here. See more detailed notes on this process in 'field-by-field notes'.

    Adjustments to distributions for taxa affected by changes in taxonomic delineation (lumps and splits) were made using information from the Jepson Manual (Hickman 1993) to modify existing records. This required interpretation of taxonomic delineations in some instances by Calflora staff. Ann Dennis was primarily responsible for the modifications of data subsequent to it's inclusion in the Calflora database.

    Identification Notes: not applicable

    Contact: Calflora staff can assist with the interpretations of the data modification through time, but the composite dataset reflects a synthesis of information from the sources listed in the 'auth_collector' field. Please consult these references for full descriptive documentation.

Bureau of Land Management Eagle Lake Field Office Herbarium

    Data Synopsis:
      This data originates as label data from the herbarium of the Eagle Lake Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (SUS). The primary purpose of the collection is to document plant species occurrence and distribution across the Eagle Lake, Surprise Valley, and Alturas Field Office Areas (formerly the Susanville District of the BLM). Most of the specimens are from BLM lands in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada, but some collections are from surrounding area as well. Most of these specimens date from 1978 and 2000, and most were collected by Gary Schoolcraft, who retired in July 2000. The database from which these records are derived is maintained by the Eagle Lake Field Office, but is not currently available elsewhere. Duplicates of some specimens were distributed to other herbaria, so some of the collections recorded here may also appear in other herbarium datasets.

    ID: eaglelakeherb

    Date included: 5 February 2002

    Total Record Count: 2,848

    Updates? Periodic updates are expected, the herbarium collection is growing and the label database is actively maintained.

    Transcription Notes
    Click here for detailed field-by-field notes.

    Identification Notes
    All records are based on herbarium specimens. Most were identified by Gary Schoolcraft (high reliability); and quite a few have also been annotated by researchers from other herbaria.

    Location Notes
    Location data generally given to the township, range, and section, plus a general description of location, county, state, and elevation.

    Date Notes
    Most records have exact day of collection.

    Nomenclature Notes
    Most names reflect nomenclature of the collection time (i.e. Munz, Intermountain Flora, or Jepson Manual). Names have generally not translated from the original observer's usage.

    Sampling Methods
    Collections were done in the course of a general inventory of BLM lands, and as the opportunity arose. Generally, no attempt was made to collect multiple specimens of a species across the district, but to represent the majority of the species found in the area. We have classed these as incidental observations.

    Contact Information
    Beth Corbin, Botanist,
    Eagle Lake Field Office
    Bureau of Land Management
    2950 Riverside Drive
    Susanville, CA 96130
    (530) 252-5305.

California Department of Food & Agriculture Herbarium

    Data Synopsis:
      Records include weeds of California that have been vouchered in the herbarium at the California Department of Food & Agriculture, and observations of weeds. Specimens were collected mostly by CDA employees, and are theoretically available for examination.
    ID: weeds
    Date included: 1997
    Last Update: 2008
    Total Record Count: 11,969
    Please contact the staff at Calflora with your specific request before contacting data owner:
    Fred Hrusa
    California Department of Food & Agriculture


California Department of Fish and Wildlife: Natural Diversity Database

    Data Synopsis:
      The California Natural Diversity Data Base (CNDDB), part of the NatureServe Natural Heritage Network, is a computerized inventory of information on the location and condition of California's rare, threatened, and sensitive plants, animals, and natural communities. This information is available from the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the form of computer-generated reports and overlays. 

      The CNDDB has many more observation records for rare species than appear on Calflora. The records that appear on Calflora are a subset of the complete CNDDB collection, and each record contains only several fields from the corresponding complete CNDDB record. This subset is intended to indicate the distribution of rare plant species only at the quad or county level. Researchers interested in this data are urged to obtain the data from CNDDB directly rather than to rely on this subset.

    ID: cnddb
    Date first included: 1998
    Most Recent Update: August 2019
    Presentation Notes
      This data data is presented in Calflora as a checklist of rare plants for each quad.
      Scientific names in this dataset are consistenmt with the the CNPS Inventory
    Data Sources
    The data sources for CNDDB data are comprised of one or more of the following: herbarium specimens, published literature sources with location data, field survey data submitted to the CNDDB, and data from unpublished "gray" literature such as contracted reports. CNDDB data is all georeferenced and much of it is verified and quality controlled. The data concerning a particular taxon is not necessarily exhaustive, but rather represents what was available to the CNDDB at the last update.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program

    Data Synopsis:
    ID: dfg_veg

    Date first included: October, 2008

    Sampling methods: Rapid Assesment Protocol, Releve

    Datasets available on Calflora:

      Sequoia National Park 2000

      Pinnacles 2003

      Golden Gate Recreational Area and Point Reyes National Seashore 2003

      Suisun Marsh 2006

      Western Riverside County 2006

      Sacramento-SanJoaquin River Delta 2007

      Northern Sierra Nevada Foothills 2007

      Yosemite National Park 2007

      Pine Creek and Fitzhugh Creek Wildlife Areas 2008

      San Felipe (San Diego Co.) 2010

      Sonoma County 2011

      DFW Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program
      Department of Fish and Wildlife
      Biogeographic Data Branch
      1807-13th Street, Suite 202
      Sacramento, CA 95811
      (916) 324-3812

California Native Plant Society
Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of California

    Dataset Synopsis:
      The CNPS Inventory was originally assembled by staff and members of the California Native Plant Society in an effort dating back to 1968. Currently, occurrence information is collected and maintained for CNPS by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). The Inventory presents a continuously updated summary of distribution and habitat information on file for plant taxa considered by CNPS to be rare and endangered in California, along with CNPS's evaluation of the conservation status of each taxon. The quad-level occurrence summaries from the online version of the CNPS Inventory database have been transcribed here. Rarity information from the Inventory is included in Calflora species accounts. The full online version of the CNPS Inventory is available at the CNPS Inventory website.

    ID: cnps

    Date included: 1998

    Updates? Several times a year.

    Total Record Count: ~ 20,000 records

      The original dataset contains ~ 2,500 taxon records, each containing a concatenated list of quads. For inclusion in Calflora, these lists are decomposed into individual observation records per quad.

    Date Notes

      This dataset represents a summary of all observations, current and historic, that have been evaluated by CNPS and/or DFW. The original dataset does not include dates for the observations substantiating presence in particular quads or counties.

    Nomenclature Notes

      Nomenclature is updated continuously. Because the scientific names in this dataset are sometimes not supported by other nomenclature authorities, Calflora treats CNPS as its own nomenclature authority in the Plant Name Library.

    Contact Information

      Questions and corrections on CNPS Inventory data content should be directed to:
        Aaron Sims
        California Native Plant Society
        2707 K Street, Suite 1 .
        Sacramento, CA 95816-5113
        (916) 324-3816

    California Vegetation Type Map

      Data Synopsis:
        "In the late 1920s and early 1930s Albert Everett Wieslander and several others, in a project of the newly formed California Forest Experiment Station, explored much of California's wildland sampling vegetation, taking photographs, collecting specimens, and drawing exquisitely detailed maps of what they found."

        See About the Wieslander Vegetation Type Map Survey, UC Berkeley Library

      ID: vtm
      Date included: April 29, 1998
      Total Record Count: 24,763
      Nomenclature Mostly the original Jepson Flora or earlier.
        Dr. Barbara Allen-Diaz 
        Associate Professor
        Environmental Sciences
        Division of Environmental Science, Policy & Management
        327 Mulford Hall
        University of California
        Berkeley, CA       94720-3110

    Cooperative Yellow Starthistle Mapping Project

      Data Synopsis:
        Database records for occurrence of yellow starthistle on the state highway system in the Sierra Nevada. Many organizations, including California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), US Forest Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, California Native Plant Society, County Agricultural Commissioners and others, contributed inventory data to map the extent of yellow starthistle in the Sierra Nevada. Data included here were collected in 1999 and 2000. These data are assembled, transcribed, and maintained by the California Department of Food and Agriculture as part of the ongoing Sierra Nevada Cooperative Yellow Starthistle Mapping and Assessment Project.
      ID: ystmap
      Date included: October 31, 2001
      Total Record Count: 9864
      Updates? periodic revisions are expected.
      Transcription Notes
      Additional metadata are available on the individual datasets that were compiled by CDFA to form this composite dataset. Click here for detailed field-by-field notes.
      Identification Notes
      No collections were made. These are primarily reports from trained observers working under the direction of professional botanists, but individual observations are unconfirmed and classified here as 'report'.
      Location Notes
      Location data were provided to Calflora in the form of points in decimal degrees. In most cases, these are centroids calculated from polygon data stored by CDFA as ESRI shapefiles.
      Date Notes
      Most observations include exact dates.
      Nomenclature Notes
      All data pertain to Centaurea solstitialis L.
      Sampling Methods
      CDFA provided metadata on the original data files they combined to form this dataset. The file ID is the 'collection' within the composite dataset. Data files are classed as one of two sampling types and provide the basis for assignment of sampling method to individual observations. The two types of sampling methods are:
      • Detection=observation of YST occurrence not associated with search or survey. These are classified as observation type 'undirected search'.
      • Survey = positive occurrences noted during a survey of a particular area or roadway for yellow starthistle. These are classified as observation type 'directed search'.
      In the few cases where survey type field was blank, observations were classed as 'survey' based on contributors general description of the dataset. Negative occurrence data (records of areas surveyed where yellow starthistle was found to be absent) were also provided but are not included in this Calflora transcription.
      Rosie Yacoub
      Sierra Nevada Cooperative Yellow Starthistle Mapping and Assessment Project,
      California Department of Food and Agriculture,
      Sacramento, CA
      916 654-0768

Dean W. Taylor Herbarium Specimens

    Data Synopsis:
      Specimens collected throughout the career of Dean W. Taylor throughout many regions of the state. Collections are especially strong in rare & endangered taxa, disjunct populations, and new discoveries. Some duplicate collections have been filed with the University and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley.
    ID: wdt
    Date included: May 14, 1999
    Total Record Count: 11,437
    additions, refinements and additional records expected periodically.
    Identification Notes
    All identifications are by Dean W. Taylor, and sometimes additional experts.
    Jepson Manual or later, Dean Taylor reserves the right to recognize other taxonomic entities.
    Dean W. Taylor

Eldorado National Forest, Aspen Delineation Project

    Data Synopsis:
      These data are from a survey of quaking aspen stands in the Eldorado National Forest. Records included here were collected in 1999 and 2000, and provide information on location, habitat, stand size, age composition, and presence of conifers within the stand. These data are assembled, transcribed, and maintained by the Eldorado National Forest, US Department of Agriculture as part of an ongoing Aspen Delineation Project.

    ID: aspen

    Date included: 22 February 2002

    Total Record Count: 229

    Updates? Periodic revisions are expected.

    Transcription Notes
    Click here for detailed field-by-field notes.

    Identification Notes
    No collection vouchers were made. These are primarily reports from trained observers working under the direction of US Forest Service District Biologists but individual observations are unconfirmed and classified here as 'report'.

    Location Accuracy
    Location data were provided in the form of UTM Zone 10 coordinates obtained from GPS readings. UTM locations recorded in 1999 have a precision of approx. 200 feet (61 m). UTM stand recordings in 2000 have a precision of <100 feet (30.5m). (Location precision 1999: 1.2ha, 2000: 0.3 ha)

    Date Notes
    Observations include year data was collected. Stands were sampled in summer months, recorded here as 'August'

    Nomenclature Notes
    All data pertain to Populus tremuloides Michx., a name current in the Jepson Manual (1993).

    Sampling Methods
    These data are classified as 'directed search' because they are the product of searches for stands of this particular species. The objective of the ongoing Aspen Delineation Project is to produce a full inventory of aspen stands within the study area. Various methods are used to locate aspen stands. Field observers visit each site, and are instructed to obtain at least one UTM reading from a GPS recorder for each stand observed. Stands are delineated as separate stands if there is a separation of at least 150 feet between aspen stems. Only one UTM reading for each stand is included in this dataset.

    Contact Information
    David Burton
    Aspen Delineation Project
    Eldorado National Forest

G.F. Hrusa checklists

    Data Synopsis:
      This dataset is a collection of checklists from various authors, transcribed by Fred Hrusa as an ongoing project. The collection currently includes checklists for 126 locations around the state, with dates ranging from 1927 to 2005. As well as transcribing species lists and location information, Hrusa has evaluated documentation level and ID reliability, as well as brought older scientific names into a current nomenclatural usage. The individual checklists exist in hard copy form at various locations.
    ID: hrusa
    Date first included: 1997
    Last Updated: February, 2006
    Total Record Count: 28,541
    Identification Notes
    Hrusa evaluated authorship, methods, and existence of vouchers to classify levels of ID reliability. Observations he classed as 'highly reliable' are classed here as 'documented', and are generally vouchered observations from highly expert observers. All other observations are classed here as 'reported'. Authors of checklists are cited in the 'auth_collector' field, along with publication years and voucher locations, if available.
    Location Notes
    Locations are described by latitude and longitude of the center of the checklist area. Original values are in minutes and seconds. Location precision is based on Hrusa's estimate. Where available, Hrusa included area surveyed for the checklist, transcribed here in the 'plotsize' field.
    Date Notes
    Checklists span the period 1927 to 2005. Values of 'Field Years' from the original data were used to assign date precision values. Actual date precision is generally exact year. Checklists accumulated over several years are classed as '+-5 years' reflecting uncertainty of the year in which a particular plant was observed, not uncertainty about the dates of observation.
    Jepson Manual or later, older nomenclature in original data has been updated by Fred Hrusa
    Sampling Methods
    Checklists spanning multiple field years were classed as 'cummulative arealist', checklists from a single field year were classed as 'onetime arealist', with individual observations from the lists labeled accordingly.
    Contact Information
    The dataset owner requests that users address questions to the staff at Calflora rather than contacting him directly.
    Fred Hrusa
    California Department of Food and Agriculture

Presidio Vascular Plant Occurrence Database

    Data Synopsis:
      This database compiles observation data on vascular plants occurring within the Presidio of San Francisco from field surveys, published and unpublished lists, and herbarium specimen records. It is maintained by the Presidio Trust, National Park Service, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to serve as a documented checklist and repository for monitoring data. Although the database as a whole houses checklist and specimen citations from the early 1800's onward, almost all the original field observations date from the period 1994 to 2010. Most of these observations were made as part of survey efforts directed by staff botanists. The Presidio Trust, National Park Service, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy maintain the Presidio Vascular Plant Occurrence Database as an integrated data entry and reporting tool available in-house to staff and volunteers.
    Date included: April, 2004
    Last update: May, 2010
    Total Record Count: 13,841
    periodic additions expected
    Identification Notes
    Plant identifications were made by professional botanists or amateurs expert in the local flora.
    Location Notes
    Dataset contains location references to flora zones, watersheds, and sites available as GIS coverages. Point locations are the centroid of a polygonal area, not the precise location of the plant within that polygon. More precise locations may be available from the data owner on request.
    Date Notes
    Records included in Calflora are from the period 1816 through 2010. Many contain the exact day of observation.
    Sampling Methods
    Most observations were made in the course of an organized sampling effort directed at documenting flora of particular sites and plant communities within the Presidio, documenting distribution and abundance of individual species, and compiling a complete vascular plant checklist.
    Contact Information
      Mark Frey
      Presidio Trust
      34 Graham St.
      San Francisco, CA 94129

Harvard University Herbaria Type Specimen Data

    Data Synopsis:
    Specimens in the type collection database at the Harvard University Herbaria. Includes all type specimens from Harvard University Herbaria, Arnold Arboretum, Farlow Herbarium, and Economic Herbarium of Oakes Ames.
    ID: huh_types
    Date included: October 12, 1999
    Total Record Count: 3209
    yes, periodic at HUH discretion. Several Families of plant types have yet to be databased but will be included when they are completed.
    Identification Notes
    Various nomenclatures used, presumably the most current at the time of specimen examination
    Sampling methods
    David E. Boufford,
    Harvard University Herbaria

Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium Specimens

    Data Synopsis:
    Specimens collected of numerous years by various collectors now residing in the Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium.
    ID: inhs
    Date included: 2 November 1999
    Total Record Count: 1136
    yes, infrequent as the California specimens are not an active growth area for the Herbarium.

    Conversion Notes
    Click here for detailed field-by-field notes.
  • Cultivar field is blank for all Californian records.
  • 4 records were deleted from original data since they were erroneous duplicates. (see bottom for email from INHS)
  • 35 of the records are actually from Baja California. These were deleted from ingested data, leaving 1136 records.
  • Infraspecific ranks in the form of "ssp." and "var." and one "forma".
  • Identification Notes
    Collectors and collection numbers cited in 'auth_collector' field when available.
    Presumably based on date that the specimen was collected or most recently annotated.
    Sampling methods
    Varied based on collector.  Most are either general collections of an area, or directed expeditions in search of specific taxa.
    Kenneth R. Robertson
    Plant Systematist, Center for Biodiversity
    Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium
    607 E. Peabody Drive
    Champaign, IL 61820 USA
    217 244-2171 (voice); 217 333-4949 (Fax)

The Nature Conservancy

    Data Synopsis:
      Cumulative checklist compiled over years of observations for plants reported to occur in individual Nature Conservancy lands.  Some checklists were compiled by professional consultant botanists, others by volunteers or amateur botanists.
    ID: tnc
    Date included: 1997
    Total Record Count: 4,476

    Updates? unknown.
    Conversion Notes 
      Dataset came without unique record identifiers, Calflora assigned new ones.
      Data compiled from individual TNC land units and published separately.  Land unit publication specified in 'collctn' field when available.
      Dataset came with matching table of TNC land units containing location information L/L DMS, TRS, county, etc.
      About one quarter of observation dates are missing.
    Identification Notes
    Collector Name and collection number located in 'auth_collector' field if available.
    Various nomenclatures used, depending on date, location and observer.
    Sampling methods
    Unknown.  Presumed a cumulative checklist of plants for TNC unit compiled over time.
    The Nature Conservancy
    California Regional Office
    201 Mission Street
    4th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    (415) 777-0487

Natural Resources DataBase

    Data Synopsis:
      The Natural Resources DataBase (NRDB) is a compilation of observations of flora and fauna made at open space and nature preserves in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The database can be searched for available data on flora, mammals, birds, and reptiles-amphibians-fishes seen at one or more preserves.

      Calflora and the NRDB share plant occurrence data for various Bay Area preserves.

Calflora Public Checklist Collection

    Data Synopsis:
      This dataset consists of botanical surveys and other plant checklists which are included in documents published online -- for instance, as part of the CEQA documentation for a project. These checklists have been collected by Calflora volunteers searching the internet. Typically, when a checklist appears in this dataset, Calflora has had no direct contact with either the source institutions or botanists responsible for the list.

      When botanists are named in the source document, their names are included in the record, and the documentation type is set to ‘reported’. Otherwise, the documentation type is set to ‘literature’.

Observations Contributed Online

    Data Synopsis:
      Observations of plants contributed by individuals through the Calflora website, or via one of the Calflora phone applications for data collection. Observers range from professional biologists to school aged children. Observers are self-catagorized into the following groups:
      • Professional Botanists: Those having a background or training in botany, recognized as peers by professional botanists.
      • Amateur Botanists: Those without professional-level knowledge, but experienced in the use of keys and descriptions, and/or have expertise with the plants submitted.
      • Other Observers: Those without professional-level knowledge, but able to make plant identifications, subdivided by age range:
        • Adult Observers 18 & over
        • Teen Observers 13 - 18
        • Child Observers under 13.

    Dataset IDs: Professional Botanist, Amateur Botanist, Adult Observer, Teen Observer, Child Observer.

    Date included: System design early 2002, Public release August 1, 2002. Public re-release June, 2005. Date of contribution to Calflora of each record is included in record.

    Updates? Online contributors may update their records at any time.

    Conversion Notes: Data gathered from the upload form is converted, where appropriate, to standardized units. In almost all cases the original data is preserved unaltered in the record metadata.

    Identification Notes: Identifications are performed by the individual observer. Identifications are not reviewed for accuracy before inclusion in the Calflora library.

    Nomenclature: Contributors are requested to use names in current usage, but older names that are now considered synonyms are also accepted.

    Sampling Methods: Most observations are incidental and not a part of a sampling design.

    Location Accuracy:

      When contributors enter records via a web application, they may declare the location accuracy of their record in area units.

      When contributors add records with a phone application, an error radius is included from the GPS device, which is then converted to square meters. Accuracy depends on the particular equipment used and situational factors. A typical value from a phone application with mid-level equipment is an error radius of 3.9 meters, or 47 square meters.


      Contact information for contributors is kept private to minimize spam. Some contributors have chosen to make their email addresses available to other contributors on their Contributor Profile page. Otherwise, to get in touch with a particular contributor, please write email to Calflora.

Consortium of California Herbaria

    ID: cch

    Date first included: March 20, 2010

    Data Synopsis:
      The Consortium of California Herbaria is a gateway to information from California vascular plant specimens that are housed in herbaria throughout the state. The database includes information from two million specimens, all searchable through a single interface. Originally developed in 2003 around botanical collections from University of California herbaria, the Consortium continues to grow as more collections are added. Currently, collections from more than 35 institutions are accessible through this interface.

      Prior to the inclusion of the CCH dataset in 2010, Calflora received data directly from University and Jepson Herbaria (Berkeley), UC Riverside Herbarium, California Department of Food and Agriculture Herbarium, San Jose State University Herbarium, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Herbarium.

      A problem identifed by all parties during this era was the difficulty of keeping an up-to-date copy of each dataset on Calflora: each institution's data was in a slightly different format, and updating a dataset from a particular institution tended to be a time consuming manual process. The great promise of the CCH was to replace this piecemeal arrangement with a centralized, mostly automated system wherein each herbarium would make the latest version of its own dataset available to the CCH, and the CCH would make datasets from all herbaria available to Calflora in a unified format. The intention was to reduce the possibility of users seeing out-of-date data. The intention was also to publicize the great work being done by the CCH and its member herbaria by showing their records on Calflora.

      Since these five herbaria are all members of the CCH, their data was removed in 2010 when the CCH data was included.

    How this data appears on Calflora:
      Georeferenced records from the Consortium appear as points in various Calflora map interfaces, such as What Grows Here? and Observation Search. Users may click through to see full details of any relevant records on the CCH1 website. Note that users can also view complete information directly from the Consortium of Califomia Herbaria on the CCH1 web site.

    According to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed in October, 2009 between Calflora and the Consortium of California Herbaria, CCH staff and Calflora staff will work together to update the data on Calflora on a regular basis, at least quarterly.

    From the beginning of the agreement through 2018, the CCH data was available to Calflora through a feed. The most recent version of this feed was through the Berkeley Natural History Museums' GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT). Calflora read this feed and updated its copy of the CCH1 data several times a year.

    As of May, 2019, the IPT feed was discontinued. The last time Calflora successfully read the feed was in October, 2018. How CCH data will be updated on Calflora going forward is not yet resolved.

    As of October, 2015, the feed contained 1,994,000 records. Of those, 1,347,000 records (67%) were useable, in the sense that 1. they were georeferenced with an understandable location accuracy, and 2. the plant name was resolvable with reference to all current scientific plant names and all historical synonyms.

    Calflora also maintains a list of records from CCH1 which users have pointed out are inaccurate, mostly because the location description does not match the coordinates. These records are excluded from default search results on Calflora, and made available to CCH staff to augment the CCH's other quality control mechanisms.

    Location Accuracy:
      An error radius is included for most records. For many older specimen records that were georeferenced after the fact, the error radius values can be on the order of several kilometers.

    Consortium of California Herbaria
    Jason Alexander, Biodiversity Informatics Manager

USDA Forest Service: Ecology Program

    ID: fsecology
    Date included:1997
    Total Record Count: 15,861
    additions expected, existing records may be updated with more precise location data and additional site characteristics
    Conversion Notes
    Dataset came without unique record identifiers, Calflora assigned new ones.
    Taxonomic Names came encoded in ADP codes.  Conversion to expanded names uses the Calflora table [ADP-USFS].
    Location data did not come with county name information. An attempt was made to assign county name by translating Meridian/Township/Range/Section into a lat/long centroid of the section.  Then lat/long was converted to county location by Fran Evanisko at BLM, but the results have been problematic. County data warrants further processing and refinement.
    Identification Notes
    Identification was performed in most cases by USFS botanists and field biologists.  Specific collector information was not available.
    Sampling methods
    Bruce B. Bingham
    USDA Forest Service
    Pacific Northwest Region
    Arcata, CA
    voice: 503-808-2251

USDA Forest Service, Pacific North-West: Forest Inventory Assessment

    Data Synopsis:
      Inventory data collected by the National Forest Service of vegetation on National Forest Lands.  The chief objective of forest inventory is to provide data useful for planning, and allocating land resources and management activities.  Most observations are of economically important species (i.e. timber trees) and co-associates.
    ID: fiapnw
    Date included: 1976
    Total Record Count: 803
    Timothy Swedburg and Charles Bolsinger
    USDA Pacific Northwest Research Station
    P.O. Box 3890
    Portland OR 97208
    (503) 808-2044

USDA NRCS-National Plants Data Center:
California County Occurrence Information from Botanical Literature

    Data Synopsis:
      Records represent vouchered observations published in botanical literature and scientific journals. Most observations are by specialists of the reported taxa, gathered during monographic, taxonomic or floristic research.
    ID: caco
    Date included: 25 August 1998
    Total Record Count: 79,912
    Infrequent updates expected
    Identification Notes
    Sampling methods
    A list of journals cited is available.
    Queries regarding the database should be directed to
    Dieter Wilken,
    Director of Research,
    Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

USGS Central Mojave Vegetation Mapping Project

    Data Synopsis:

      This dataset contains field data gathered in connection with vegetation classification and mapping of the central portion of the Mojave Desert. Data were collected during 1997, 1998, and 1999 to characterize vegetation composition and environment on 1242 plots. Data were gathered using plot-based releve methods, and included a vascular plant species list with cover value by species, landform and soil information, general vegetation physiognomy, and human impacts. Fieldwork was carried out under the direction of Kathryn Thomas, USGS Biological Resources Division. Data presented here are part of a larger body of information available in electronic form from the USGS (see contact information below). More information on this project is available at

    ID: mojave

    Date included: 18 July 2002
    Total Record Count: 21,461
    None expected.
    Transcription Notes 
    Both scientific names and plant codes were provided. In cases where there was disagreement between the name and the code as defined in USDA PLANTS (about 20 cases), the name was given precedence.

    Click here for detailed field-by-field notes.

    Identification Notes
    Although specimens may have been collected, individual field observations are not documented by specific specimens. Consequently, these observations are classified as ‘reported’. All observations are attributed here to Kathryn A. Thomas, who supervised the project and reviewed work of field personnel. Names of field crew members connected with individual observations may be available from the data contributor upon request (see contact information).
    Names used are generally consistent with Jepson Manual usage (Hickman 1993). Names in this dataset are, with few exceptions, the original names used by the field observers.
    Date Notes
    Exact date of survey was recorded for each plot.
    Location Accuracy
    Data were provided as UTM coordinates in NAD 83 datum. Field crews used aerial photos, maps and military-grade GPS to find preselected plot locations. Precision of locations provided is estimated at 0.25 hectares (location of plant observed is not more than about 25m from the point described by the UTM coordinates). ‘County’ was not provided by the data contributor, values here are interpreted from the UTM coordinates.
    Sampling methods
    These data are classified as 'plot list'. Data were collected as comprehensive species lists of 1) perennial native plants, and 2) annual and perennial exotic plants, for circular plots of 1000 sq. meters. An environmental sampling framework was developed using satellite imagery and other information to produce an initial vegetation stratification. Then, for each class in that stratification, a suitable number of sampling locations 1 square km in size were randomly selected. Within each 1 km location, up to eight sample plots were selected to represent the different topographic subclasses present. A report describing these methods will be available on the Mojave Vegetation Project website, Data presented here are from the first of three stages of sampling used to develop the Central Mojave Vegetation Map.
    Kathryn Thomas
    USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
    Colorado Plateau Field Station
    Northern Arizona University
    P.O. Box 5614, Bldg. 24
    Flagstaff AZ 86011-5614

East Bay CNPS Rare and Unusual Plants Database

    Data Synopsis:
      Volunteers with the East Bay chapter of the California Native Plant Society (EB-CNPS) have rigorously gathered plant observations for many years in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. They have compiled observations from many sources as well as direct in-the-field surveys, and used this information to evaluate which species are rare or threatened locally, but possibly more common elsewhere.

      Over the years, criteria have been developed and a ranking system devised to denote the degree of rarity and endangerment of these unusual plants in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. A database is used to track these plants and surveying, monitoring, and other research activities continue every year to constantly reassess and update the status of these plants in the two-county area. EB-CNPS Ranking can be found in Calflora under the "comments" section, and the field "extra" of each observation.

      Please see a complete description of this project on the EB-CNPS website.

      Included in the latest update (July 2010) are several thousand observations of plants that have been determined to be more common than warranted for ranking (found in 15 or more subregions). These observations are included here as generally useful observations, but are marked as unranked in the context of the EB-CNPS Rare & Unusual Plant Database.

    ID: ebrupd
    Date included: November 2005
    Last Update: July 2010
    Total Record Count: 19,038
    Updates are provided as available, usually after a publication of a new editions of the printed Rare, Unusual and Significant Plants \ of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties report.
    Ranked Lists
    • *A1x- Species in Alameda and Contra Costa counties listed as rare, threatened or endangered statewide by federal or state agencies or by the state level of CNPS.
    • *A1- Species in Alameda and Contra Costa counties listed as rare, threatened or endangered statewide by federal or state agencies or by the state level of CNPS.
    • *A2- Species in Alameda and Contra Costa counties listed as rare, threatened or endangered statewide by federal or state agencies or by the state level of CNPS.
    • A1x- Species previously known from Alameda or Contra Costa Counties, but now believed to have been extirpated, and no longer occurring here.
    • A1- Species currently known from 2 or less regions in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
    • A2- Species currently known from 3 to 5 regions in the two counties, or, if more, meeting other important criteria such as small populations, stressed or declining populations, small geographical range, limited or threatened habitat, etc.
    • A?- Species that have been reported in the two-county area but identification is questionable and the species may not actually occur here.
    • B- Watch List of plants that occur in 6 to 9 regions in the two counties. Not currently considered rare or endangered in the East Bay but that could become so if certain conditions persist such as over-development, water diversions, excessive grazing, weed or insect invasions.
    • C- Watch List of plants that occur in 10 or more regions in the two counties. Not currently considered rare or endangered in the East Bay but have potential threats.
    • Unranked- Plants previously tracked, but now found to occur in 15 or more regions in the two counties and not considered to have significant potential threats.
    Dianne Lake
    Unusual Plants Coordinator, East Bay CNPS

Yosemite National Park Natural Resource Inventory

    Data Synopsis:
      This dataset contains vegetation and habitat information for 362 sample plots established for vegetation inventory and mapping in Yosemite National Park. Some of the survey plots were also used for gathering information on fuel accumulation. Data were collected by teams of field personnel working under the direction of Peggy Moore, USGS Biological Resources Division, over the period 1988 to 1993. These data form part of an integrated in-house GIS library for Yosemite. They are not available online or in published form.
    ID: yosemite_nri
    Date included: 26 February 2002
    Total Record Count: 6,507
    No updates expected, this project is complete.
    Transcription Notes 
    Data were provided in 3 primary tables which were combined to create the records presented here. These included a listing of species occurrences by plot, location and environmental information about plots, and vegetation type occurrences by plot. Additional tables provided translations for vegetation types and other codes. Original data not transcribed here include percent cover and cover class values for species, and several environmental parameters for plots. Locations were rounded to 1000 m before submission to Calflora.

    Click here for detailed field-by-field notes.

    Identification Notes
    Species determinations were made in the field by trained technicians working under the direction of a botanist expert in the flora of the region. Individual observations were generally not vouchered and are classified here as 'reports'.
    Plant names were submitted to keep Calflora on line nomenclature consistent with the Jepson Manual (1993), transcribed from field data in Munz-era nomenclature.
    Date Notes
    Dates were recorded as exact day of observation in years from 1988 to 1993.
    Location Accuracy
    Plot locations were originally recorded as UTM coordinates with a precision of 10 to 100 meters. These values were rounded to 1000 meters before submission to Calflora. More precise locations for particular plots may be available on request.
    Sampling methods
    Occurrence observations are from 0.1 ha plots within a study area that included all of Yosemite National Park. Plot locations were selected on a stratified random bases, with strata representing approximately 70 LANDSAT Thematic Mapper (TM) categories and 1,000 foot elevation zone. Four sites were selected within each elevation zone/TM category combination. Plots were circular with a radius of 17.84m. Observers recorded all vascular plant species present within the plots. They also collected data on vegetation structure, species composition, and a number of other plot attributes. Vegetation types present within 100m of the plot were also recorded.
    Peggy Moore
    U.S. Geological Survey, Yosemite Field Station
    P. O. Box 700
    El Portal CA 95318

Cosumnes River Preserve

    Data Synopsis:
      The Cosumnes River Project is a broad-based effort to restore and safeguard the integrity of the Cosumnes River and its surrounding landscape. The preserve was established in 1987 with 1,480 acres. By 2000, the preserve had grown to encompass more than 40,000 acres. While the preserve was initially created primarily to protect and restore a viable valley oak woodland ecosystem, the scope of the project expanded considerably and includes all associated Central Valley habitats and their dependent wildlife. Public education and recreation opportunities are strategically aimed at increasing public awareness and support for the project.

      Data collected through regular botanical monitoring surveys, mostly by professional botanists.

    ID: cosumnes
    Date included: February 2008
    Total Record Count: 651
    Sampling Methods: various; largely random permanent plots in riparian forest and vernal pool grassland sites.
    Cosumnes River Preserve
    13501 Franklin Blvd
    Galt, CA 95632
    (916) 684-2816

McLaughlin Reserve

    Data Synopsis:
      These data are from a plant list for the University of California, Davis' Donald and Sylvia McLaughlin Reserve and immediately adjacent public lands. A concerted effort to compile a complete species list for this locality has been undertaken over the past 25 years by rare-plant experts (consulting for Homestake Mining Company, the former managers of the property), ecologists conducting research on the property, and Reserve staff. While some reported occurrences remain unvouchered, the plant list for the most part is well documented and populations of sensitive species are well mapped both in space and time.
    ID: mclaughlin
    Date included: March 2007
    Total Record Count: 699
    Updates? periodic revisions are expected.
    Notes on Location and Date:
      Please contact Reserve staff to gain access to the Reserve before you attempt to either verify a record or conduct any additional exploration. Botanical explorations are encouraged but need to be arranged with site staff in order to ensure security of research and teaching occurring on the site.

      Records in this dataset are not distinguished as to location; all records are georeferenced to a single point inside the Reserve. Records in this dataset are not distinguished as to observation date; the date shown on the records, July, 2005, represents when the list of species was compiled, not when the plants were observed.

      Vouchered specimens are kept at the UC Davis Herbarium or at the McLaughlin Reserve. For the actual location of any species mentioned in the dataset, or the actual date when specimens were taken, please contact the Reserve. Information about some of the vouchered specimens kept at the UC Davis Herbarium is available from the California Consortium of Herbaria website .

      Paul Aigner or Catherine Koehler
      Resident Co-Directors
      UC Davis - McLaughlin Reserve
      26775 Morgan Valley Rd.
      Lower Lake, CA 95457
      (707) 995 9005

Invasive Spartina Project - DRAFT DATA

      The Invasive Spartina Project is a coordinated regional effort among local, state and federal organizations dedicated to preserving California's extraordinary coastal biological resources through the elimination of introduced species of Spartina (cordgrass).
    Data Synopsis:
      The ISP surveys the Bay annually to assess and map the distribution of introduced Spartina species. The mapping project is a field-based effort, utilizing Global Positioning System (GPS) units to collect location and ecological data for each found population of invasive Spartina. Highly infested marshes are mapped by digitizing ground-truthed color IR aerial photos.

      Calflora acknowledges the Invasive Spartina Project, the State Coastal Conservancy, the Calfed Bay-Delta Program, and the State Wildlife Conservation Board for use of this data

    ID: isp
    Date included: February 20, 2009, from draft data provided by ISP on December 11, 2008.
    Total Record Count: 205 (North Richmond only)
      ISP has data covering the entire Bay. Data currently available on Calflora is a subset which includes only data from the North Richmond area.
    Location Notes
      Location data were provided to Calflora in the form of points in an ESRI shapefile.

The Bay Area Early Detection Network (BAEDN)

      The Bay Area Early Detection Network is a collaborative partnership of regional land managers and invasive species experts. The BAEDN coordinates Early Detection and Rapid Response to infestations of invasive plants, proactively dealing with new outbreaks before they can grow into large and costly environmental threats.
    Data Synopsis:
      BAEDN data is contributed by various individuals and institutions, and concerns weeds which are spreading to new locations in the Bay Area.
    ID: baedn
    Date included: September 30, 2008
      New BAEDN data is being actively contributed. Revisions to existing records are expected occasionally.

iNaturalist research grade

    Overview: is a website where anyone can record their observations from nature. Members record observations for numerous reasons, including participation in citizen science projects, class projects, and personal fulfillment.

      Within iNaturalist, observations are casual grade by default. To be research grade, an observation must

      • have an ID agreed upon by the community
      • have a date
      • have coordinates
      • have a photo
      • be wild/naturalized
      • have a reasonable-looking location

    Data Synopsis:
      Records from iNaturalist are read into Calflora monthly through a feed. The Calflora acceptance algorithm favors less common plants, and locations that are not heavily botanized. An iNaturalist record is accepted if

      • The record is research grade.

      • There is a CC license on both the record and the photo(s).

      • The record has a value of coordinate uncertainty (error radius), and that value is less than or equal to 100 meters. Because the locations of rare plants are randomized on iNaturalist, and the coordinate uncertainty is set to a corresponding high value, observations of rare plants are not accepted.

      • The record is not in the immediate vicinity of another record of the same plant with a photo. The sense of immediate vicinity varies depending on the overall density of plant observations in a 4 square kilometer area around the location of the record.

      Occasionally records from iNaturalist are removed from Calflora when they are obviously horticultural (planted).

    ID: inat-r
    Date included: April 14, 2012
    Updates: monthly
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