Many introduced/invasive plants aren't marked as such in areas they are invasive

I’m not sure where to place this, so I’ll start with it in “General”.

As the title says, there are some species that are appropriately marked as non-native/invasive/anthropologically introduced in certain areas, such as Siam Weed ,Chromolaena odorata, in Vietnam, specific observation here, but there are others that should be similarly labeled but that are not, as per this observation of Black-Jack, Bidens pilosa, or this one of Tropical Leatherleaf, Laevicaulis alte, slugs.

I realize that it’s a daunting task to ensure that non-native/introduced/invasive/etc species are properly labeled for each region, but it is an important topic and one for which it would be good to have a certain level of continuity.

I don’t know how this would be accomplished at a large scale, but individual flags for each species and location seems like an ungainly way of going about it, especially as it’s a minority of users who even know you can do that, let alone who actually do.


In the main header search:
-Search for the place of interest, e.g. the state, country, or other place you are interested in and choose “About”
-Lefthand side>View check list page
-Search for taxon where it says “Type taxon name”
-If not on list, “Add to list” and add taxon to list
-Once on list, click “Edit” next to the taxon
-Change “establishment means” and Save

Do it for the largest area it is introduced (continent, if possible) rather than country or county/province/subregion.

iNat doesn’t track invasiveness, just introduced/native.


Thanks for that.

Considering that each country now has thousands of introduced species would still be nice if there was some thought put in about how to automate that process.

There’s also a secondary issue, one that plagues these sorts of discussions. That of when does something stop being “introduced”. An example of this is Wild Sugarcane, Saccharum spontaneum, which has its origins in India-ish, but has spread through nearly all of SE Asia. It was introduced, likely by people, but has been here for a very long time, possibly several thousand years at this point.

At what point do we say, “yes, it’s clearly introduced, but it’s been here for so long that it’s no-longer relevant to label it as such.”

In the Americas, or elsewhere with species that have their origin in the Americas, that’s relatively easy, even if we do it in a somewhat arbitrary manner, but in the rest of the world it’s a far more complicated discussion.

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I started working on a list of invasives for Florida as curated by FLEPPC so that I could create projects that would auto-curate the observations of invasive plants in the area in which they are invasive. I stalled because it didn’t seem terribly important because of the pink exclamation mark that (usually) appears when something is marked ‘introduced’.

If you have such a list, I believe it is possible, but an iNat staff member would have to confirm.

That pink warning appears to be very dependent on what part of the world you’re in. Obviously data quality and records are much better in places like North America (well, US and Canada at least) and Europe than pretty much everywhere else.

@earthknight, the pink warning is set when you set a species as introduced for a certain iNaturalist “place”, so, when something has a pink exclamation flag in Florida, it is because someone went into the species list for Florida and set it as introduced. You do not have to be a curator to do this. This was my first direct data quality improvement I started making to iNaturalist before I became a curator (flagging doesn’t count as direct because someone else has to do the changes for you).

Of course, this does leave places with less users a bit high and dry - if no one with the knowledge and time to change it notices that there’s no flag for something invasive in Africa, then there will be no flag.

@bouteloua, do you know if iNat has a plan or anything to address these sorts of data quality inequalities?

OpenStreetMap addresses these sort of problems with a “game” platform called MapRoulette. It’s easy for people with a problem (for example: unmapped hospitals in Rwanda) to create a task for other people to jump in and play - improving data quality in a very narrow way in a geographic location they otherwise have no personal expertise in.


No, I’m not sure, but I do think it would be better done by batch import rather than one by one by people.


The difficulty will be in finding accurate and comprehensive list of relevant species for each area. I’ll dig around and see if I have at least a partial one for Vietnam.

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In India and Indonesia we have the same question coming up, on how to mark a whole list of plant species as introduced. So far I have only found out how to do this one by one, from Places or from the Checklist page.

I have puzzled a bit over whether non-native species that are cultivated in the country should be added to the checklist as Introduced, or only those that are invasive. I decided the former as the species are being observed especially in gardens and as street trees, and the ‘introduced’ flag may help to remind the observer / identifier to mark the observation as cultivated as appropriate.

E.g. I just added Acacia dealbata as an introduced species to the checklist for India: - it was not showing, presumably as none of the existing observations are RG.


There is an existing batch upload functionality for lists in which establishment means can be included, described more here.

I have not experimented with it yet to see whether it will update taxa and establishment means already in a checklist, or just add new things.

EDIT: have now experimented, and it will allow updating of existing list taxa, either as the whole batch or selectively from the batch. Anything new is automatically added without further intervention. Currently there is a bug that prevents batch import of Occurrence Status (present, common, absent, etc.), but Establishment Means works as expected.


Thank you! I was alarmed by the idea that it might replace the whole checklist, but this seems not to be the case. it does sound like there is still a risk of over-writing existing precious data that has been laboriously added for species already on the checklist?

But the thread says no (hurrah!)

Yes, and I edited my post above to reflect the new information.

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EDIT: Nevermind! An hour later, it’s now there.

Very helpful, thank you! Does it take awhile for this change to propagate through the system?
I updated Pilosella caespitosa to mark as introduced in North America, and it now shows as such on my observation (pink flag):

But that has not yet caused that observation in Windsor NH to appear in my project that pulls introduced species on my property there:

It might be possible to pull the information from the Invasive Species Compendium

It would have to be checked for reliability/accuracy and the data likely reformatted, but it seems worth looking into.

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