|Fields in Alpha Order
Observation Download Application provides a way to
download a set of plant
observations from the the Calflora online database
in a form that is readily assimilable by another
database or spreadsheet.
Searching and Dowloading
Enter some selection criteria (for instance, County = "Del Norte"
and Plant Status = "non-native"), and press the Search button.
The first 750 records that match the criteria will appear in
a table at the bottom of the page.
If more than 750 records match, only the first 750 will be displayed,
and to see all matching records, you will need to download the
result set. To download, choose an Output Format other than
"Table" (for instance, "CSV" to go into Excel, or "Tab delimited"),
and press the Download File button.
To see the results in Google Earth, do a search,
choose "KML" as the value of Output Format,
and press the Download File button.
Lines and Polygons:
Most records include a point location.
Some records also have an associated line or polygon.
To search for records that only have a point, and
not a line or a polygon,
To search for records that have a line,
set Geometry to line.
To search for records that have a polygon,
set Geometry to polygon.
To search for all records,
set Geometry to any.
To download matching records as a point shapefile,
set Output Format to Shapefile: point.
To download matching records as a polygon shapefile,
set Output Format to Shapefile: polygon,
and similarly to get a line shapefile.
Shapefiles suffer from the limitation that an attribute name
cannot be longer than ten characters.
When you extract a shapefile with this application,
attribute names are deliberately shortened,
The meaning of the shortened names is explained in this
It is possible to download a GeoJSON file containg a
mix of feature types; in other words, points lines and polygons.
To get records including any available geometries in the form of
Geometry to any and
Output Format to GeoJSON.
However, GIS products like Quantum GIS do not really accept
GeoJSON files containing heterogenus feature types;
if the file contains multiple feature types,
QGIS will ask which one you want to load.
Geometry is not included in
the various flat file formats (CSV).
If you are looking for a specific plant, note that the Scientific Name
and Common Name fields are typeahead enabled -- type in part
of the name, and then choose the exact name from a drop down list.
If you choose a full scientific name, the search will also look for synonyms
of that name.
If you choose just a genus name, the search will not look for synonyms,
but instead look for all scientific names that begin with that genus.
There is a maximum of 150K records per download.
If you need more than this, try chopping the state up into
regions by latitude.
You can download the data through various
views (column sets).
Use the Column Set selector above
the results table to choose a predefined view,
and/or use customize to modify a
Current predefined views include:
Only core data fields.
Core fields plus weed specific fields.
Weed Data Export
A short list of fields including
Information on California plants for education, research and conservation.
[web application]. 2019. Berkeley, California:
The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization].
(Accessed: Jun 13, 2019).
Hints for Using the Application
- Generating a shapefile on the server requires
a lot of server resources.
If you set Output Format to Shapefile: ...,
and the results include a large number of records,
the download may fail. If this happens, choose a
different Output Format, and convert the results to a shapefile
on your own computer after the download.
If you need to download polygons or lines,
try downloading as GeoJSON, and use Quantum GIS to do the
- If the results you are getting are too dense
(too many points), you can impose a grid on the results
to thin them out. If you set Grid Cell Size to
"30 arc seconds", the results will contain
at most one record per grid cell, where the side of
a grid cell is 1/120 of a degree.
- It is not possible to get unpublished records
from this application, for security reasons.
Please contact support if you need to download unpublished records.
Fields in Alphabetical Order
GPS devices are used to make observations,
the device typically produces an error radius
interpreted as the accuracy of the device at the moment the observation was made.
The error radius value from the device is stored in this field,
but may be modified later.
Accuracy: Square Meters
An estimate of the accuracy of the location coordinates,
expressed as an area in square meters.
For instance, if the location accuracy is 100 square meters, then the idea is that the real location of the plant is somewhere within that 100 square meter area.
If a record coming in from a GPS device has a error radius value in meters,
then this field is set to the area of the implied circle.
Calflora's plant identification number.
For Vaccinium ovatum
the calrecnum is 8200.
This field is used by contributors to make sets of records,
at the discretion of the contributor..
sometimes observation records are included in a plant survey --
in this case, the Collection field for each observation
will contain the survey ID.
Anything of interest about the plant or site.
The common name of the plant observed.
Full County name e.g. Riverside.
The current scientific name of the plant observed,
derived from calrecnum.
This will only be different from Taxon
when the accepted scientific name has changed since a record was entered.
For instance, if the value of Taxon is
then the value of Current Taxon will be
If you add this field to your column set, you will not see a value
in the table of results in Obseration Download.
When you choose a download format, and then download a file,
the value will be included in the file.
The distribution of the plant across the landscape.
If you choose this field, the Distribution Code will be included in results.
|P||Scattered Dense Patches|
If you choose this field, the Distribution Value (from the table above) will be included in results.
If there is a shape (line or polygon)
associated with a record, the value of
this field will be the ID# of the shape.
If there is just a point location acssociated
with a record (no shape), the value of this field will be 'P'
To download the entire record including the shape in the form of
GeoJSON, set the Output Format to "GeoJSON"
and include the geometry field in the
output Column Set.
Gross Area Count
Gross Area: The area of ground covered by the patch, if you drew an imaginary line around the outer boundary of the patch.
The number of units e.g. 15.
Gross Area Units
Gross Area Count and Gross Area Units written together
15 Square Meters.
The primary habitat type where the plant is growing.
- 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 purposes.
Calflora record identifier.
Infested Area Count
Infested Area: The area of ground covered by the patch if there were no spaces between the plants.
The number of units e.g. 15.
Infested Area Units
Infested Area Count and Infested Area Units written together
15 Square Meters.
The center of the patch,
decimal latitude and longitude,
A brief description of where the plant is.
high, medium, or low.
On Location Quality.
|searched for but not found
|under management / treatment
The land owner, manager, or steward.
Other / Unknown
Private Land Trust
City or County Government
* Bureau of Land Management
* Department of Defense
* National Park Service
* USDA Forest Service
Date the plant was observed.
Dates are stored in the database in the form
YYYY-MM-DD; for example, 2019-12-31.
The person(s) who observed the plant.
|0 - 1||trace|
|1 - 5|
|5 - 25|
|25 - 50|
|50 - 75|
|75 - 95|
|95 - 100|
Same as Percent Cover but includes
a percent sign at the end of the value: 25 - 50%.
Phenology: The life stage of the plant(s) at time of observation.
If you choose this field, the Phenology Code will be included in the results.
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
Sapling|| A young tree
Dead / skeleton|| Dried/dead plant or dormant perennial
Leafing out|| Producing new leaves (for deciduous perennial plants)
Mature|| A perennial plant NOT in one of the above stages
Vegetative|| same as Mature
If you choose this field, the Phenology Value (from the table above) will be included in the results.
The organization(s) responsible for the record.
This might include both
the organization that paid for the survey
the organization that did the field work. For instance
The scientific name of the plant observed,
without authors and
with only the genus capitalized.