Cultivated, Wild, Escaped, Unsure?

I would consider all of these situations wild.

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That is what I did, and approximately what @ SQFP proposed, too, but as @ raymie suggests, one could argue for 1 being wild, too, i.e. if you think about what is “intended” or “guided” by humans in it’s growth… and actively protected: The original plant was, surely, but the new plants that grew from the seeds on the field will be treated the same as “weeds”, they are unwanted… - @ SQFP in a garden you would proably want them and keep them, take care for them, if some of your flowers produce offspring. - But I also thought of the “indended limits” of the field you mention, on which they were cultivated on… but mentioing this, I am thinking that case Number1 is basically the same (or very similar to) case Number 2! The first example could just easily end up the same as the second one… and both are the offspring of the seeds originally sown on the field, just on a later stage, and in one case of the same species, in the other case of another… .

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Well, I bought a bag of “mixed pretty annual flowers for gardens” to sow in a lawn, years ago. I have no idea which species they belong to (4 or 5 horticultural varieties?)… but to my surprise they manage to regrow (from seed) year after year. Without me caring for them in any way, ever.
I introduced the parents deliberately, their offspring don’t spread beyond the intended lawn. Fortunately.
Are those now “wild”, just because I did not pick each and every seed (future individual) when “it” was ready to fall to the ground, to plant “it” at a definite location and water “it”?

Certainly a farmer who sows “barley” in a field expects “barley” to grow, but also knows that some of it (10 seeds? 8,972? who knows?) is expected to remain in that field… and because such cultivated plants can survive for many years following harvest, farmers end up with fields comprising minute amounts of 4 or 5 “leftover” crops (barley, soybean, alfalfa, sunflower…) that were all grown deliberately in that precise field at some precise point in the past.

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They are wild because you didn’t plant the individuals currently living there.


So I guess the iNat “guideline” must be corrected.

As of now, it states under Wild:
“garden plant that is reproducing on its own and spreading outside of the intended gardening area” (~ the bold part ought to be deleted, or changed to a or: is deemed wild any garden plant reproducing on its own even if still in the intended gardening area)

I’ve always interpreted that particular guideline largely to rhizome-spreading plants with little sprouts popping up very close to the cultivated individual. This is how most botanists I’ve interacted with on this site seem to interpret it, as well.

So how good is a guideline that can be interpreted by different persons in such contrasted ways?

edit: when time allows, will post a request to have this help line amended, to clear things up about stolons rhizomes propagules and the such. Could help with getting many obs out of the ‘casual’ dustbin, too.

Good example. I think the point is to understand if that lawn can be considered as a “wild habitat” or not. In other words, would those plantlets have survived elsewhere with similar climate and soil considtions? There are of course many “grey areas”, but I think that in many cases it much depends on common sense.

I think that such cases of crops persisting in the field or in its proximity after the harvesting could be considered as a first step of “naturalization”. It must be said that in most cases such first attempts fail to make a stable wild population, but in few cases they succeed.

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It falls into the “intended gardening area”, imho. It’s in a (closed, but otherwise uncared for) residential garden.

edit: also something to keep in mind: the “cultivated, wild, escaped, unsure” topic deals with individual organisms (or, in an even more restrictive turn, observations thereof).


I suspect your case can be more likely defined a not wild observation. This impression relies on the fact that you know which is the source of these plants. Otherwise, if someone does not know this, should wonder which could be the source. Note that, as in an earlier post, I used a word that has to do with probability. At this point anyone’s common sense and the knowledge of the distribution of wild plant species should suggest what to think, if those plants have become wild or not. In the end, I would suggest to wait and see if those plants succeed in escaping to a nearby area that can be defined a “natural habitat” such as a road margin or an uncared meadow.

PS: in certain countries findings is closed properties are not accepted. I would say that it can be either correct or not depending on some aspects.

Consider a habitat restoration area. It’s intended to go wild. We agree that the first generation of plants, those that people planted, are not wild. Do we have to treat future generations as not wild? That would be a mistake, I think.