Native range of species

The native ranges of some of the species in the genus Trillium appear to be lacking but before I go flag a bunch of them for curation, let me ask here first. As an example, take the type species for the genus:

Trillium cernuum: Native to United States

I can’t say that’s false but it is misleading. I believe it should be:

Trillium cernuum: Native to North America

The species is native to Canada as well as the United States so I think “North America” is more appropriate than “United States.” Can/should we change this in the iNat database?

Actually I wish that potential identifiers were confronted with the following more specific geographical information:

Trillium cernuum: Native to eastern North America

I’ve reviewed dozens of observations from western North America with a suggested ID of a species that is native to eastern North America. (I haven’t looked yet but I assume there are misidentifications in the opposite direction as well.) Knowing a more specific native range for the species would be really useful to identifiers.

FYI, each of the species in the Trillium genus can be pigeon-holed into one of the following geographic regions (which can be verified via POWO):

Native to eastern North America
Native to western North America
Native to eastern United States
Native to western United States
Native to eastern Asia
Native to southern Asia
Native to southeastern Asia

To help prevent misidentification, can we somehow make this information available to identifiers?

Thanks in advance,

Tom Scavo

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Can you use screenshots and URLs to share what you’re seeing and where?

Possibly merge into ?

@trscavo - just a minor note, that adding range information into the database is a very important feature on the site. Personally I wish that I could really focus on that as biogeography, not taxonomy is my main interest, but other curating seems to get in the way.

Just note that adding it will likely not reduce by much the misidentifications though, as many if not most will come from use of the computer vision system which does not effectively(1) take range into account, just visual match.

To see which identifications were made using the computer vision, on the ID banner look for the little badge icon with the star towards the upper right of the ID box (in the screen shot between 'Forbedring and 1 må). PS - yes I do know how to ID a Common Whitetail, sometimes it is just faster to let the CV do it rather than start typing.

(1) I say effectively as it will note in text if a species it is suggesting has been reported with other iNat observations nearby, it does not do the opposite nor will it state it if it is defined as being in the range but there are no iNat records.


@trscavo - I will also note that you dont actually need to flag a species for curation in order to get the native / introduced / endemic information filled in. It is something all users on the site can do. It is actually done by filling the data in on the relevant geographic checklist.

So for example, while a curator has gone an added the native status to the Canada checklist for T. cernuum, it is not yet done for the province of Quebec. To do it, you would:

  • search for the appropriate place either in the search bar or the search function on the Places page. In this case the Quebec page is
  • towards the bottom left is a link to the checklist for the place, click that, on the checklist, use the search for function at the top right.
  • when it returns the appopriate species, click edit.
  • go to the 2nd link in the centre column - the one that says Oprindelse here (I think it says Establishment Means in English) and click Edit. Change the status value to the appropriate choice and save

Just a very minor caveat - while I’m sure that many of these geographically umprobable IDs are probably indeed incorrect, many species have been planted in gardens well outside of their native ranges,and it is often difficult to tell if they are cultivated. I ran across this recently with sensitive ferns - a gardener had collected ferns fron all over the world and it made for some odd points on the map.

That said, the majority probably are due to geo-insensitive computer visiin.

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It would be useful if we had a distinguishing map pin = garden plant.
Casual = a judgement value, but not informative.
I would like to see on the world distribution map - these are wild, and those are planted.


Sure, the iNat page I’m referring to is here:

This page claims that T. cernuum is “Native to United States.” I think it should say “Native to North America,” or better yet “Native to eastern North America.”

For reference, see:

Does this help?



Yes, good point. Taking my previous example a little further: I know what states and provinces Trillium cernuum is native to. (Yes, I can provide references.) If an observation appears in some other state or province, I’d like the red question mark icon to appear: “Introduced in blah blah blah: Arrived in the region via anthropogenic means.”

So we’re back to the original question about native range. Anything outside a species native range is assumed to have “arrived in the region via anthropogenic means.”



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One note, the page will actually show different status geographies to different users depending on their account settings.

It appears to use both the prioritize names that you set and the search place. For instance I have both of these set to Canada, and for Canada Darner which is set as native to north America, Canada, the US, and Ontario, and I see native to Canada as the string.

If I remove out and blank both settings I see no text at all.

If I set my search place to Ontario and names to Canada I still see native to Canada as the string, so I am not sure what it is prioritizing. My gut tells me in this case it should be showing the lowest level of geography between the 2, or at a minimum prioritizing the search locale and showing me ‘native to Ontario’ but its not doing that.

You can still add the native status to that trillium to eastern North America, But few people likely will see that designation.


Or its native range was not properly understood.


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