Intentional marking cultivated plants as wild

I have recently encountered an unusual behaviour by a user. She has been uploading (still is) mostly cultivated plants, not marking them as such. I have been marking them as cultivated and commented on several occasions, indicating that cultivated plants must be marked as cultivated. In response, she started to mark them as wild (seen in the Data quality assessment), overriding thus my markings as cultivated. How to behave in this case? Address the helpdesk? Flag? If the latter, what will be the basis for flagging?


I would flag other experts on those taxa to weigh in. The great thing about iNat is the community makes decisions like that together.

Of course, this is a controversial issue (isn’t everything?). Is “cultivated” a reference to the plants origin or its state? Is a plant that has escaped horticulture and is no longer being controlled by humans still “under cultivation”? When does it become wild? Difficult issue to resolve.


It is easy to answer the last part of your comment - the plants in the OBs in question are all definitely cultivated, as evident from the photos. And the map, too. I agree, in some cases (escapees, self-seeded) it may be controversial. But then, it is always useful to add a photo of general view how the plant was found and add a comment. Not the case I was addressing, though.


If it’s a case of a user intentionally misrepresenting data, then I think it’s fair to ask the help desk what to do. Understanding what “cultivated” means for plant observations can be a little tricky, so I do think the first step is to educate the user. But if that’s already been done, the most efficient solution is likely for someone to work with the observer directly. Particularly if it is a lot of observations, I feel like trying to call in people via tags to mark things as cultivated can just lead to a kind of voting war that doesn’t really solve the underlying issue.


Agreed. A similar situation was discussed here and @tiwane said he was happy to discuss it via an email to


Thanks everybody for your advice. As there were not too many such observations, I have tagged community. I hope it will help.

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You could also try sending a direct message to the user, where they might be more likely to respond. It’s possible they’re just confused about how the system works too. I’ve seen people accidentally mark thumbs up when they definitely meant thumbs down.


Thank you, @bouteloua. I did try messaging, but there was no response. You might be right though about misunderstanding how the site works: on one or two cases the observer clicked half of the thumbs up in the table. I think, I will just keep eye on her and look how the things will develop. Though it is autumn now, less chances for any plants. Unless she starts uploading her pot plants, of course.


I have come across this on several occasions, mostly with new users, and quite a few of these having been students who only use the platform for a short time and then move on. Perhaps the teacher had told them to snap wild organisms and we’re making it harder for their assignment! :-)


Happy to look into it if you want to email

Thank you, @tiwane I will, if the problem persists.

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This is an issue that’s always bugged me, as a couple prolific users in my area upload many garden plants without checking the cultivation box. Perhaps I’m just missing it, but is there a way for other users to come in and mark the plant as cultivated?

Secondly, as a land restorationist I sometimes add seed to a site when the native seed bank has been depleted. I do not mark those plants as wild (usually I don’t bother uploading them at all).

But what about the offspring of the plant community I establish? I’m thinking right now about a large colony of Bidens aristosa that’s now about 4x larger than the original area I seeded a few years ago. As an annual I technically didn’t plant any plants present today, and they’ve expanded beyond the original site. Still though, the population only exists because of me.

It seems to be a grey area. I’m not particularly interested in uploading this population, however a passer-by might do it and I couldn’t really say they’d be wrong to.

Hi, welcome to the iNat Forum! On the Identify page, you can press the key x and it will mark it as “captive/cultivated” (aka not wild"). You can also click the checkbox next to where it says Captive/Cultivated:


On an individual observation page, scroll down to the Data Quality Assessment section and click the thumbs down next to “Organism is wild?”.

The offspring of planted plants are considered wild.


Could you post her observations page?

As far as I am concerned, if such behaviour is made in a clearly malicious way, the only possibility is to advise once such users. If it goes on, they must be suspended.

No, I can’t. It is against forum rules. I was thinking to message it to you but I have just checked her profile - she has deleted all her cultivated OBs! So apparently @bouteloua’s assumption was right - it was not really malicious case but just not understanding how Inat works and which key means what, even though the app is in native language now. Hence the lack of direct response. Or maybe the latter is just a part of national character - most of us are reserved and unresponsive :-)

ok, better this way

This is interesting. The plants arrived with human help. They would not be there had it not been for humans. To me, that seems the opposite of “wild”.

Well, most of the worst invasives arrived with human help. And has spread.


If a plant naturally colonizes a new area where it wasn’t found before, then I would consider that a wild expansion. The distinction is so blurry. :confused:

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@exekutive the topic of the distinction between cultivated and wild in plant observations in iNat has been discussed extensively.

This thread is about particular individuals deliberately marking cultivated garden plants as wild, not about corner cases where the distinction blurs. Please stay on topic.

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