Cultivated plants and comparisons

Kia ora, are observations on cultivated plants useful? I am thinking

  1. detailed photos of common species like flowers, fruits, bark, etc to help with their identification
  2. photos of plants that are not common, but are in my garden or elsewhere in cultivation, e.g., Pittosporum fairchildii.
  3. How to upload images that compare different morphologically similar species to aid identification, e.g., miro vs. mataī.

ngā mihi,

iNat goal is to connect people with nature, I don’t want to call observations useful or not, because they all work for the aim of connection (maybe excluding photos of other humans, etc.). Cultivated plants were discussed a lot, you can read multiple topics, yes, they’re useful both for ordinary people or someone who’s researching probable invasions, all you need is to mark them cultivated and then upload as many as you want.


I personally think it would be helpful to have cultivated plants in the database. People start to commune with nature with the nature near them, which is often houseplants and landscape plants. I often know, “I’ve seen that at a garden store or florist” but don’t know what it is.

There is a problem with cultivated/captive observations: they don’t appear in “Needs ID” searches. That means you have to depend on people specifically searching for cultivated plants.

To show the important ID features, you can add arrows, circles, and notes to a photo using a tool like Photoshop or your phone’s edit feature. That would be really cool for cultivated plants because the differences can be subtle and they can be harder to research than wild ones.

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I agree with @jbecky. Many people, especially new users gravitate towards garden or landscape plants – and pets. It’s regrettable that these observations are discriminated against by the system of “needs ID” vs “casual” labels.

Here is an open feature request that would allow captive/cultivated organisms to remain in status “needs ID”. You could vote for it.

More generally, focus on what you yourself find useful or interesting. If others find that interesting, good – if not, no harm done.


While I don’t disagree there may be advantages to encouraging new users who start with house and garden plants, there are other apps that may be better suited for such domestic IDs, e.g. PictureThis.

But, iNaturalist has done its job if IDing a geranium leads to an interest in discovering a weed in the sidewalk, and that leads to noticing what is living in the local park, and then finally leads a user to checking the variety of life to be found on preserve trail.

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Not everybody who is interested in nature, has the leisure, or the opportunity to hike in nature. Cultivated plants may be all they have. No reason for iNat to exclude them. Set filters for people who don’t want to see Not Wild.

iNat says it is about encouraging people to notice nature - whatever it may be in their life.


Many thanks, everyone. I will continue then with these types of photos
ngā, Chrissen

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