Canadian common names not accepted usage

I am irritated that iNaturalist does not use the accepted vernacular names as established by Canadensys for Canadian botanical species.

Glad you have joined us on the forums @boute135, welcome!

I moved this to the General category, since this is not technically a bug. As iNaturalist is currently functioning, there is not any one “standard” reference for plant common names in any jurisdiction. But it is certainly a valid discussion topic. Also made the title reflect that your concern is specific to Canada.

Are you able to look up species by their Canadensys names (even if they don’t display as the default name)? If not, they can easily be added by any user - go to the taxon page for the species, click on the Taxonomy tab, then scroll down and click Add a Name toward lower right.


There can’t be that many plant species endemic to Canada. ;)

In case you haven’t found it yet, in your account settings on the website, scroll down a little and in the center, there is a way to set your default “place” for common names. As jdmore says, iNaturalist does not defer to any specific authorities for common names, but I suspect the “accepted” VASCAN common name (whatever that means) will be the assigned default name for Canada in most cases.


In the event you have a quibble with what the default name is set to for Canada, feel free to flag the taxon for curation and someone will take a look.


I went to my account settings, and changed it to not show common names, to retain my ID, and to change my icon. Did not see a ‘save’ button, and none of the changes I made happened. I am ticked that my ID of the click beetle was changed to ‘INSECT’ How helpful is that?

Vascan is Canadensys - the data base for vascular plants in Canada.
Also, I find your comment “There can’t be that many plant species endemic to Canada. ;)” condescending and unnecessary.

It is at bottom of the page

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Ah - missed it. All is good now, thank you.

When you entered the ID, you just wrote a “placeholder”, instead of an actual identification. I’m not sure if this was on the app or website, but either way you need to make sure you actually choose a taxon from the drop-down menu. This is something that confuses a lot of new users, and I think the iNat developers intend to fix this eventually. It looks like you intended to identify this as

When I type either “Green Click Beetle” or “Nitidolimonius resplendens” in, the correct species comes up. Click that option to save your ID.


Thanks reuvenm. No, I wasn’t aware of any drop-down menu! Will be on the lookout for it with my next entry :-)

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I can assure you the endemic species comment was not intended to be condescending at all. That said, yes, I am aware VASCAN = Canadensys, which is why I referenced it. iNat is an international website, so there will always be some friction with common names used for species that occur in different parts of the world. Since few species are endemic to Canada, it won’t make sense for the Canadian vernacular to be the default name globally if it’s known most commonly by a different name elsewhere. This is why the developers created the user-specific “default place name” feature.

It looks like you’re new to using iNat, so I recommend browsing through the Getting Started guide, Frequently Asked Questions, and maybe even the Curator Guide to delve deeper into the policies and back end of the taxonomy and names used here.

See also

In the future, if you are running into a separate issue in your use of the site, please open a new topic (after searching to see if it’s a known issue). That helps ensure our discussions don’t become convoluted and off-topic. Thank you!


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