Sometimes scientists work on holidays, and collectors of the millions of plant specimens found in herbaria are no exception. Opportunities to document where and when plants occur are numerous; even a Christmas stroll can turn into an expedition. For example, the robust weed shown on the right, an introduced species to California called "buckhorn plantain", was collected on December 25th, 1994.
We don't know the whole story about this specimen. Why was Fred Hrusa, then a Ph.D. student at UC Davis, traveling in Monterey county, a good 170 miles from Davis? Perhaps he was visiting family, a friend, or just the marvelous beauty of the California coast. What we do know, thanks to his careful record-keeping, is when and where this plant species was found, what it looked like, and whether it was reproductive.
- error - uncertainty about the provided coordinates resulting from georeferencing; this is often indicated as an error radius or an error polygon
- georeferencing - the process of interpreting the textual information about a location and assigning latitude and longitude coordinates, as well as an indication of uncertainty, to that location