Are garden weeds wild or cultivated?

My mother planted some rosemary in her garden, in tilled soil and all that jazz. At some point, weeds started growing out around the rosemary bush, which clearly weren’t planted there. However, they still grew in “cultivated conditions”, so to speak. Someone marked the observation of those weeds as not wild. Was that the right call or not (I mentioned in the description of the observation that they weren’t planted there)?

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Anything that wasn’t planted is wild (seedlings of cultivated plants count too, unless you take care of them), probably ider was confused by it being in that spot. You can overcome their vote by yours and leave a comment!


100% wild and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


Anything that is not deliberately planted counts as wild.


That raises an interesting question. If you water a volunteer weed, does it then become cultivated?

No. Anything not intentionally planted is wild. This includes plants that came up on their own, whose seeds came from intentionally planted plants.


Thanks for all the quick answers. It seems to be unanimous that garden weeds are wild.


Well one time I grew a seed I had from a batch and It turned out to be one of the weeds that are always growing in my garden. So I think they are both. But in my case it was cultivated since I got it from the store and not from the wild.

Now I have another questions though. If you take seeds from a wild plant will it still be wild or will it be cultivated now

Cultivated if you grow them.

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If you plant the seeds deliberately, not accidentally, then they are considered cultivated.


Ah thanks

I once saw an observation with a many-person argument about greenhouse weeds. Most votes I have ever seen on the DQA at once! Some people were saying the weed inside this greenhouse had to be marked cultivated because it would freeze to death outdoors, and it looked silly to have an observation of that species so far north on a map.

That’s weird, many insects are found in greenhouses only, without known origin, that way we wouldn’t have their observaions at all.

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The definition of a cultivated plant doesn’t mention whether it’s been planted. It’s cultivated if it’s where and when it is because a human intended it to be there.

I have a tray of pansy seedlings which I sowed. By any definition they are cultivated. But among them is a sweet pea seedling, which I didn’t intentionally sow in that tray, although I have other trays of sweet pea seedlings which I did sow.

The first time I saw that rogue seedling it was not cultivated (by the iNat definition) because I didn’t intend it to be there. But the moment I decided to let it grow, to water and tend it along with the pansies until it was ready to be pricked out, it became cultivated. A kind of Schrodinger’s seedling.

Take another (real) example. I planted a load of “wild” daffodil (narcissus pseudonarcissus) bulbs. They are cultivated. Every year I let them set seed, with the explicit intention that the seeds will scatter and new daffodils will grow. As a gardener I would say every one of those new plants is cultivated, but by iNat’s definition they are not.

My garden is full of “weeds” because I choose to let them stay. I dig up some dandelion and dock but allow others to grow. I set my mower height to encourage daisies to flourish. As a gardener I would say they are all cultivated. On my iNat observations they are not.


Wild but possibly not usable for scientific publications that sometimes require that a plant is to be found outside a closed property. But, anyway, still ok for iNat and no need to be flagged

It is not wild as it wouldn’t have been there without your intervention. If it will succeed in producing an offspring without any help it will become wild

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So what if I collect some seeds then just toss them somewhere else with no intervention to help them grow? No deliberate planting, no watering or adding nutrients, no weeding of other plants (competition) around it.

PS I would know if I did it, but couldn’t know if someone else did. There is a practice of seed bombing vacant lots with seeds of native wildflowers. Also a practice of spreading wildflower seeds on hwy ROWs.

I disagree with your sweet pea designation. There’s no “Schrodinger” situation here. If it wasn’t intentionally planted, it isn’t wild, regardless of if you are no caring for it. If you transplanted the sweet pea to a new spot, then it would be captive/cultivated. But if you are tending to it in the spot it came up on its own, that’s still wild.

Out of curiosity, would you be able to find this observation again?

They were intentionally introduced and therefore cultivated.