Absolutely tired of plants not marked as cultivated - Solutions welcome

It’s not possible and in fact it’s bad for iNat, it’s community based, if everyone starts uploading everything iders will just leave, they already face a lot of problems shown in this topic.


Almost impossible for software to force a solution, when even the few people on this thread don’t completely agree.


I work on forest issues. Far too many of the trees in the forest are from plantations after the forest was clear cut. So how do you deal with the fact that many trees are not of native stock. Have been in the forest for over 100 years? There is a plantation of sequoias that are now 120 years old that appear natural. I know these are cultivated as I worked in the forest in 1991 and was shown and told the story. It is clearly a problem when plants are just a crop and the practice goes back many generations. Clearly garden plants are easy to spot but century old restoration plots not so much. But, many times the photo of the garden specimen is superior to wild and native specimens. I really don’t want to lose the photos or documentation of where to see them. As with all introduced species, when do we start treating naturalized specimens as not cultivated?


absolutely! We have here in NZ, large tracts of land that are original old growth forests, literally never touched. We have some reserves that are near to town, which used to be farms with a couple old trees still standing, and they have been fenced off and re-vegetated back to close to what they were… albeit with tourist paths and signage, and so forth. Not the same. The invertebrate community is so different, the moisture levels and light levels are all different…

There is a starkly purist concept of what wild is and a real-worldly practical perspective, and then there is the whole scale of definitions between. At the moment, we have two options, and it’s a vote scenario. Having three options would take the heat out of a lot of debates, and in my opinion it would make the data easier to sift through for purpose.

The new onboarding will help… but it will never be perfect for all…


On that note, I have had a bit of frustration recently in which I check the “captive/cultivated” box, and the system unchecks it. After several attempts, I have to go to the Data Quality tab and do it there.

If you can consistently replicate that behavior, please submit a separate bug report here on the forum.

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Except that it often takes decades for a species to establish in the wild, and one of the most interesting functions of iNat is facilitating, through comments and further enquiries, the first identifications and documented observations of the latest invader.

So while we definitely need to question either the ID or the wildness of such observations, if we close our minds and shut the observations out of the ID pool they may go unnoticed for even longer.


True! I do see one of the potential uses of iNaturalist to be plotting the history and spread of species that are newly established and reproducing in the wild. For example, I live in Massachusetts, where pawpaws (Asimina triloba) do not grow naturally. I planted three pawpaws in my backyard 15 years ago or so and they are now producing seed, at least in some years. The squirrels don’t seem to be interested in eating the pawpaw seeds, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a fox or raccoon or bear would carry a whole ripe fruit out of my yard, across the street, and into the patch of woods behind the houses there. If pawpaws start showing up there in 10 or 15 years, from those naturally transported seeds, and then another quarter-mile beyond that in another 10 or 15 years, that is quite interesting - and if I put an observation of those planted pawpaws into iNat, it would be possible to trace where these pawpaws originated. Assisted migration, if you will.

Nonetheless, I think it is instructive for people to realize what occurs without human input (what’s wild) and what is planted or captive, or even just what’s not native. Pawpaws aren’t native to Massachusetts, but in a century or two, that may not be true any longer, given climate change.

(Anybody know what disperses pawpaw seeds?)


Quote: I check the “captive/cultivated” box, and the system unchecks it.

When I see this, it seems to be a timing issue. And often it resolves itself. If I check “cultivated” and then identify the plant, the check mark in the “cultivated” box disappears. For me, though, it comes back when the computer is finished uploading the name, which can take longer than it seems should be necessary.

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I strike this too, especially when applying multiple annotations, like sex and lifestage… Set the adult, it may or may not come up straight away, but even if it does, selecting male then makes the lifestage value disappear… The “instruction to set” has been sent to the server, so I just move on to the next one to ID. Then after that one I might pop back and check the previous did set correctly, and it usually has.

I have the same issue with IDs. Often it takes ages for the ID I make, or even the comment, to show up. I wait a couple seconds to make sure it’s had time to fully send, but don’t wait for the screen to update from the confirmation… I just move on to next. Then when I have IDd the last one in the page of 30, I wait for that one to update, and then just left arrow back through them all, and they update within a second for each one, setting the reviewed flag automatically as it goes. The alternative is to wait 30 seconds for each one to update fully before moving to next… That’s 10-15 minutes extra for a set of 30 IDs!


I don’t even rewatch them, if spinning wheel has started it means id/annotation/comment will be registered, sometimes it doesn’t shown on id page, but shows on observation page.

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I mainly re-look at them to get the reviewed box to check… so that a straight refresh of the Identify page gets me the next batch… otherwise some of them took, some didn’t and then next page option is a bit random. It might also be my OCD kicking in, in that I like to “finish neatly the batch of 30”, including marking the ones I can’t even attempt as reviewed… I’ll have to experiment with whether “review all” works appropriately for that situation, sure would be even quicker still!

[edit] Yes, the experiment showed that just moving on and then hitting review all at the end of the page is sufficient, no need to re-check!


The City Nature Challenge, focuses on urban areas.

To restore and bring back to urban areas it is essential that native plants are planted>

SO IT IS NECESSARY to create a category for this plants.

For the next CNC 2021, I am working with Scouts, and because of the extremely severe Pandemic restrictions i Brazil, they may not go out to natural areas, and will stay at home and explore the backyard.

So they will obviously register and post flowers, seeds and fruits. They interaction with insects, birds and other animals should be observed. The plants in most of backyard are PLANTED.

To enhance biodiversity, they must plant native plants that attrack animals.

iNaturalist is unable to enhance this important educational goal.

So it is necessary to create a category between RESEARCH-GRADE and CASUAL.

COMMENT: It is absurd that iNaturalist can not distinguish “an exotic Australian eucalyptus” from a planted native endangered tree. Its a great fault/mistake!

For example, two categories of Research Grade can be created:

  1. One with only selvage native organisms and

  2. other with planted native organisms and with reintroduced animals in native areas.

In Pantanal, after the big fires, artificial nests for example for parrots, were installed.

This are not natural structures. How Inaturalist deal with this???

For Bee/Vasp Hotels, we can do the same question. Are users native or created???

IF INATURALIST WANT TO MANTAIN POPULATION participating, this exclusive taxonimic RESEARCH-GRADE is out of date.



No, native plants are not any different than any other planted species, you can observe lots of weeds that grow everywhere, search for “run away” plants, etc. there’re tons of organisms to observe on your own backyard that are not planted.


Research grade is just a classification to indicate certain criteria are met. The researcher in each case will decide what criteria for the data makes it valid for their purpose.

Unfortunately captive/cultivated or wild is a binary choice, and there are many grey area situations, so you just have to pick the best fit category of the 2. Regardless of how many categories there are there will still be grey areas, so while it would help to have a “not sure” category, for instance, people will still struggle to decide between wild and “not sure”, and will want further categories for other specific reasons. Then the system becomes a bulky and difficult to use thing that doesn’t have the appeal of the general public anymore.


Hi. In areas where a wild specimen is unbeleavable or in a contener I mark it as not wild. In grey zones I ask the question.
I like the idea to throw up a popup saying “Are you sure this is wild or spontaneous? + link to the help page section” when the person goes to submit a “wild” specimen.

It is not a reason not to give an ID if we can.


Please don’t mark things in containers as captive. Those generally fall into the snake-in-your-hand category - they were placed in the container temporarily for easier photography. They should be considered a grey area and the observer should be asked.

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Pretty sure they meant things clearly planted in plant containers / pots.


Oh, “containers” to me means something you would put a bug in, not plant pots.

I fully agree - also very irritating is the recording of zoo animals and pet rabbits. Why do they do this?

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