A couple questions about labeling wild / cultivated

I’m relatively new to iNaturalist and the forum.

I’m looking for affirmation on what is labelled wild / cultivated after having an observation of mine and seeing another observation marked cultivated when I dont think they should be based on the guidance. I hope its okay to ask this here.
The first observation was photographed in an aquarium after collecting a medusa from the location marked, this is because I have no other way of recording it (yes it was returned).

Is it normal for observations to be marked by other people as cultivated incorrectly? I’ve heard its an issue the other way round which is part of my confusion. Is it okay to vote against votes saying they are cultiuvated?


Since the observation is marked for where the organism was caught, you are correct, this observation is “not captive”. And yes, it would be okay to vote against a vote saying it was cultivated.

It’s harder to say with the Hawkweed observation. It was the observer themself who marked that one cultivated. So it is possible they were being cautious since it appears to be growing in a mulched area, or perhaps they have inside knowledge that isn’t readily apparent.


This is acceptable as long as the observation date/time matches the date of collection rather than the date it was photographed. If so, you can counter the vote of “Not Wild” and the observation will return to being Verifiable.

I would say yes, although it’s not as common as the opposite problem. Some people rush through thousands of observations a day and may not take the time to check the notes and location on each one, instead assuming that because it’s in an aquarium it must be captive.


I routinely mark organisms in aquaria as “captive.” However, when the location is the point of capture, I’m wrong to do it. However, as an identifier I don’t automatically know that the organism in an aquarium should be marked wild, so please help me with that. If the organism is fairly recently collected from the location you give, please, please leave a note or comment explaining that.


I experienced this once. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s disconcerting because I didn’t get any notification about it. I just happened to be going through my observations and thought it was curious that one particular one was marked casual, so it was lucky I caught it. I suppose it could have happened more, but I don’t know of a good way to sort through my many observations now to check for it.
I have done it for other people occasionally, but I think it’s good manners to always leave a comment to notify the user that I am marking as cultivated (or otherwise voting on the DQA) and why I decided to do so. Then I can be corrected or at least it gives them the opportunity to vote against me.

It would be good if the observer were notified when someone else marks the DQA in any way. Is there a request for that? or maybe it has already been changed and I just haven’t worked with it…




It’s planned, as part of a broader update to notifications. But you’re correct, it’s not currently available. You can always check which observations of yours are marked as not wild by going to https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&user_id=aphili8&verifiable=any&captive=true


For your own obs, you left a note, and you should counter the Not Wild vote.
Or call in help with @mentions in a comment if there is more than 1 Not Wild vote.

For the second, the Not Wild is from the observer. Edinburgh is way out of my range - but someone nearer could leave a comment and ask - if they planted it? Or did they mistakenly mark it Not Wild - since it is in a garden? For a newbie Wild suggests feral and ferocious animals, or plants in the wilderness. All the grey areas in between are a constant iNat learning curve for both observers and identifiers. There are rules we comply with, altho we don’t agree.

See the distribution map for Moraea aristata. Toggle to show cultivated as well.
The original surviving remnant in Observatory. The reintroduced population in its third generation on Rondebosch Common. Many obscured obs. Tick tick tick.

But an outlier in Australia - also happily marked as Wild. We need at least a third category for Introduced, Escaped, Not in the Natural Distribution, Discarded Pet.


It’s a known naturalised species in Australia (originally garden escapee)
see https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/29e8a3fe-0075-4764-982b-021ccb804691 and


The time does not match exactly but it was the same day, do you recon this is okay or should I fix it - I think I have the time I went out noted down.
Thanks for the help!

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Ill be sure to add notes more often!

It would be preferable to have the exact time you saw it in the wild. In other situations, if you don’t know, I usually put the date I saw it and delete the time data so it doesn’t show up on time-based searches. It’s not a huge deal as most people don’t use that information anyway (and there are a lot of observations with incorrect times out there, so it’s not very reliable) but if it’s possible to add the correct time please do.


For that second obs, I would generally defer to the observer’s own designation, but like anything else, it’s a case-by-case basis.

For what it’s worth, observations that are non-wild can still be found (by scientists or anyone else); it’s just that some search settings default to not showing them.


  1. the regular observation search defaults to having “Verifiable” checked, which excludes non-wild obs, and also
  2. if you go to a taxon page and click “view more” on the photos you will not see non-wild obs there either (and in this latter case you can’t actually remove the filter).)

I think that, at the end of the day, there is still going to be some grey area as to whether some observations are or aren’t wild. I’m not sure the line can ever be definitively drawn to everyone’s satisfaction. This is unavoidable, but in a way, it’s also just fine, because it makes us think about how these organisms survive and live and reproduce in the places we find them, and how we think of what is or isn’t a wilderness or other natural ecosystem.


So I have a lot of casual observations that I mark as casual myself and that seems to show all of the casual observations. Is there a way to sort out the ones that someone else has marked casual?

Regarding “exact time you saw it in the wild,” why are we expected to note the exact time but not the exact location? I frequently enter “within 100 meters of ___”; shouldn’t we be able to say “within 3 hours of XX:XX?”

No, there isn’t.

It’s generally assumed that you’ll be using the time data from the photos you took, as there are only a few situations in which that’s not accurate, so the system just isn’t set up for imprecise time notation.

Adding a note in the description can help here - describing what has been done.

Interesting topic.

In my primary research area are plants that the “experts” say are not native to this area; doesn’t this make them cultivated at some point? What if they are no longer cultivated? The Senecas and Cayugas were notorious for introducing plants, which I’d presume at one time they cultivated. Now, 400 years later, I cannot say whether any given stand of suspect plants were indeed cultivated or not.

Just use your best judgement, that’s all any of us can do for situations like this that might be unclear.

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