Are native plantings considered cultivated?

I’m just generally confused about whether or not I should be marking most of my plant observations as cultivated. Many of them are native plants that have been grown deliberately for restoration reasons. This would suggest that yes, they are cultivated. But when I look at other similar observations already on iNaturalist, they are not marked as cultivated. If they were to be marked as cultivated, it seems a bit weird that the native plantings would be considered as cultivated, yet all the weeds would be considered as naturally growing there.

I included these observations as I don’t live anywhere near genuine native bush (nearest is ~100 KM away) and learning to identify plants is a fun, addictive, and free hobby perfect in the modern COVID world. But I don’t want to be reducing data quality, so I will mark them as cultivated if that’s what I’m supposed to do.


Often, unless the original observer checks the box, it’s not obvious whether a native plant is wild or not. If you know any area is full of plantings, please mark the cultivated box.


There is native restoration area near me I’ve kept an eye on (Mt. Umunhum). Gratifyingly, after the first year or three, there are quite a lot of self-seeded native offspring from the original plantings. In this case, we can tell the original plantings from the offspring. The original often have a rocky circle (skree) around them and the offspring originate outside the original circle.


The basic answer is yes. Any plant that was not naturally seeded is considered cultivated regardless of its native / introduced status. However, once plants in a restored area begin reproducing and spreading naturally, the offspring of the original “cultivated” plants are considered wild.


Yes, planted natives are cultivated. That doesn’t mean they’re not useful to observe on iNaturalist. We can’t understand the wild plant life in cities without knowing what is planted where. Just be sure to mark the planted plants as “captive/cultivated.”


Agree with all above and just one thing to emphasize:
As it is setup on iNat, whether a plant is native or invasive/introduced in a given location has no impact on whether it should be considered cultivated or not.


So, from what others have said, but to reiterate, if you know the plants were planted (or seeds were introduced by humans), then mark them as cultivated. But if there are plants that are offspring of the originals, they would be considered wild.

And, if you’re not sure, leave them as wild, don’t mark them as cultivated; others can do that if they know the history. When marked as cultivated, observations become labeled as “casual” and often fall off the “needs IDed” radar.


Any plant put there by people (by seed or transplanted) is cultivated. However, the next generation of those species at those sites is wild. Often you can’t really tell which are the original plants and which are the next generation. With that excuse, I often treat the native plants there as wild, if they’re not tagged or caged or lined up in rows or otherwise clearly the planted individuals.


Seems like the best strategy is to mark it as cultivated after it has been ID’ed? ;-)


That’s my strategy. ID first, then mark as cultivated. Better, of course, would be to separate the cultivated vs. wild from the Needs ID dimension.


Except - while it needs ID - if we tell iNat it is Wild - the computer vision suggestions are off - and that can lead to wrong IDs.

Definitely need to be able to separate ID from wild versus not wild.

1 Like

By “off” do you mean “not quite right”?

If you ask iNat for ‘wild seen nearby’ suggestions - that is one set.
If you ask for ‘not seen nearby’ you get a different set.
Try it for something where you KNOW what it is, to see what CV suggests.

For new iNatters - if iNat says we are ‘pretty sure’ it is This species … that makes problems that need more identifiers to sort out.

Can’t you just try checking the identification for both having the box checked and unchecked, and then when you’re done deciding what it is, you can then set it to whichever you want before submitting the observation?

This is often my dilemma in forests. They are almost all used for timber production and often grown from cultured seedlings, but natural forest regeneration seems to be on the rise with some owners. In the end I avoid observing adult trees, unless they are a clear minority and hence unlikely to be planted some decades ago. But young tree seedlings, no matter if their parents were planted by hand or not, are often more difficult to ID (no fruits,…).


No - my own obs are all submitted as wild, or cultivated.

I don’t ‘submit as wild’ then mark as casual once identifiers have struggled with a ‘wild’ which is not yet marked casual. Different strokes for different folks.

1 Like

To clarify: When posting my own observations, if they’re cultivated I mark them as such. If I don’t know what they are I also post them on Facebook to get a name, and I add it here. With other people’s posts that are clearly cultivated, I don’t mark them “cultivated” unless they have a good identification.

Yes, I have this problem too, though I’m more likely to be observing the offspring of truly cultivated plants (mostly shrubs in my yard planted by some previous owner of the property). My solution is to make most of the pictures be of the seedling or young plant, but include some of the adult as well, since it could be considered “evidence” of the younger one’s species.

1 Like

If you want to spend iders time when only a few of them want to see cultivated plants, and also their nerves to see another cultivated plant not marked as so - sure, do that, or just follow guidelines.

1 Like

I mark the offspring of cultivated native plants (if this is obvious) as non-native (if it is obvious, this means that they are not native to the particular area).