Do cuttings from wild plants count as cultivated?

I have cuttings I got from wild plants in Hawaii but someone labeled them as cultivated despite the fact that I explicitly stated they were wild cuttings. So, my question is because they are cuttings does that make them cultivated?


Yes, because they came from wild plants but what matters is their current state (cultivated).


If you photographed them at home right after you came, and changed time, they’re wild. But currently they’re in cultuvation.


@leytonjfreid - where did you mark the time/place? if the location shows as your home, it’s in cultivation. if the observation data shows the place/time of collection, it’s wild. similar holds for museum / zoo specimens: unless you can map the sample back to the place/time it was taken from the wild, it doesn’t represent the wild distribution.


Maybe mark the first observation as wild and subsequent ones as cultivated? You can also group two or more related observations together as described by @pfau_tarleton in this journal entry and note the relationship explicitly like this observation.

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To count as wild, the date and location have to be when and where you collected.


Here are the official guidelines for this:
The key distinction is:
“Captive / cultivated means that the observation is of an organism that exists in the time and place it was observed because humans intended it to be then and there. Likewise, wild / naturalized organisms exist in particular times and places because they intended to do so (or because of intention of another wild organism).”

So if your observations are of cuttings taken in a place where a human moved them to, they are cultivated. Whether they were taken from a wild or cultivated plant doesn’t matter for this.

If you have a photo of the cutting taken soon after it was made that you can locate at time and place the cutting was made, that would be wild. In that case though, it would likely be easiest to just make an observation of the plant that the cutting was taken from.


The date and time are labeled as where it was found, but the images are of the cuttings in propagation vases

My mom took the cuttings so all I have is the actual cutting. So, since the photo is of the cutting in a vase but the location and time are of where the cutting was taken, is it wild?

That sounds like it technically qualifies as wild (assuming the pics were taken reasonably soon after cutting). I would definitely note the info that you describe in the notes for the observations though, as most IDers will mark something obviously in a vase as cultivated.


The images were taken about 5-3 days after they were cut. I mentioned that they were cuttings from a wild plant in all of the observations


To me, cut plants in a vase or in someone’s hand in a car for example qualify as “captive” - that’s how I have been marking them when I come across such pictures while doing IDs. They aren’t in the wild any more, and they aren’t “cultivated” yet either until rooted and planted out again. I can’t remember ever coming across a picture of plants in a vase that wasn’t located in someone’s house though or had some sort of explanation where the plants actually came from.


I would say this is clearly wild in that case - though I can see why someone marked it captive. If you are showing the time and place that the wild plant was found it doesn’t matter that the evidence you provide is gathered later. This is analogous to the case of an insect specimen that is taken in the wild, but photographed later under a microscope - if the date and location are for the moment of collection then the observation is wild.



Such kind of pictures are very common and almost always show the coordinates of the observer’s home. I tend to mark them as “Location not accurate”. I noticed some other IDers mark them as “No proof of presence”.

But I always check where the coordinates point to. If it isn’t a house I do not mark it. If it is a plant that grows in every garden and before every house, I might let it be.

So just make sure that the locationand the date is accurate - when the coordinates are not known precisely, increase the circle that indicates the imprecision so that the location certainly is somewhere inside.

I do not think it makes much sense to mark them ever as captive, unless you would mark a herbarium specimen with a lost description card as captive. Flowers grown in the garden in pots are something else and clearly cultivated.

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That’s exactly what I did, I marked the time and put a circle on the general area they were found. Thanks for helping to clarify!

The house is a difficult standard for the wild weeds I photograph. They are right in the alleyways next to houses.

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It all depends on context and communicating it to potential identifiers. To me, a cut plant/flower in a vase located in a house is akin to an animal in a cage/terrarium and as an identifier I would mark it captive unless indicated otherwise. It’s no longer where it grew, but now is where a human intended it to be. The iNat definition on the help pages is pretty clear on this:

“Checking captive / cultivated means that the observation is of an organism that exists in the time and place it was observed because humans intended it to be then and there. Likewise, wild / naturalized organisms exist in particular times and places because they intended to do so (or because of intention of another wild organism).”

Could it still qualify as wild? Under certain circumstances and if the location and time of “collection” is properly marked, sure, but those are exceptions and need to be communicated clearly. Unless there is a description saying “trapped in my attic” or “collected in the field for ID” it’s impossible for someone else looking at it to know.

Again, context is something to consider. As far as I can tell from my experience going through the Needs ID pool, the typical “vase observation” is from someone with few observations and a propensity to photograph house/garden plants and pets. The ones I see are usually either florist origin or picked some flowers to pretty up the kitchen table type of observations. Some are more obvious than others (e.g. a rose in a vase photographed on Valentine’s Day). Others could be wildflowers picked from a roadside or similar but without context it is impossible to tell.

A herbarium specimen would be inherently different as those are usually collected with a field press and not as cuttings in a vase. Similarly I guess for pinned insects etc. Those are obvious field collections intended for study/storage by their very nature of presentation of the specimen. But a cut flower in a vase? That looks instantly like a casual observation from a layperson.

So I guess what I want to say with all that: If you have an observation of a wild plant cutting in a vase, think of it as being similar to a caged wild animal. Communicating context in the description is key. You may still get someone labeling it captive/cultivated, so be prepared that you might have to follow up with comments clarifying the context again for those who missed it (not sure about this, but I think on the App you can’t see descriptions?).


On all of them I said that they were cuttings from a wild plant and that the date and location are of where they were captured. And the collection of these is more akin to a pinned insect than an animal in a cage, as they are more of being collected then held as pets (if that makes sense).

Sound like you’ve done your part communicating your intent, so that should count. Clearly there are multiple ways to interpret the “rules” and I think in cases of disputes the observer’s intent should be honored.

Not everybody will agree - I’ve had comments when collecting caterpillars to raise them to adulthood that only the first collection in the field should be “wild” and all subsequent observations should be “captive” and linked to the first one using observation fields rather than putting the time and location of the collection on those. A living plant in a vase/pot that was collected out in the field would be similar to a caterpillar taken home to raise, so the same argument could be made there.

Edited to add a link to this topic about rescue plants - somewhat related maybe? I know a cutting is different from a potted plant but in both cases they were removed from the original location.

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