Plant rescues with two locations per plant

I’m involved with the local Native Plant Society and occasionally we go out to do plant rescues. This means we acquire the necessary permits and go dig up plants of interest from constructions sites to be bulldozed/paved over and transplant them to safer locations (gardens, parks, schoolyards etc). I often take pictures of the plants in their new location after they have been transplanted.

My question would be: What is the best way to add these to iNat? So far, I’ve been putting them up with the date and location the picture was taken, added that the plant was a rescue from place X in the description, and indicated it was planted/cultivated in its current location, which then makes the observation “casual.”

It has occurred to me that this may not be the best way to do it if people are interested in where the plant originally grew. The data when and where the plant occurred in the wild is usually known to me (date and location of rescue) and may be of value for those interested in historical occurrences (since those sites have been developed the plants are no longer there). I’ve read that things like herbarium records are acceptable if the original date and place of collection can be provided with them. Would this apply to living transplants from the wild as well? The main issue I see here is that the picture I have often is from a few days or sometimes months or even years after the rescue, so the date the picture was taken may not match with the date the plant was dug, which could be noted in the description.

There may be reason to have both locations indicated. E.g. the directors of a local park want to know where these plants are now located within their park. That would be the “casual” type of observation since they were planted there. But then a researcher looking into plant distribution may be more interested in the original location and not where it has been replanted. There may only be one photo of the plant in question. I know you can duplicate an observation to indicate several species in one photo. Would it be ok to similarly duplicate an observation to indicate both wild and replanted locations linked to the same picture?

Any thoughts/advice on this?


An option could be to make two observations of the same plant, one each at the two locations, and then connecting them via fields. There is “Similar Observation Set,” and “Linked Observation” works too.


Adding an original location observation and a 2nd new location observation is completely fine, even encouraged. However, technically you need to use different pictures, not the same one, as under the guidelines of what constitutes an iNat observation, the photo attached to the record must be of the specimen you saw where and when you saw it.

It’s a bit of a technicality, but if you reuse the same picture for 2 observations of the same species (it is fine to do for records of different species - ie one for the bird, one for the tree it is in) you risk getting it flagged.

In my opinion, the location and photo of the plant where it was originally in the wild – prior to being dug up and translocated – is the more important record since it represents a natural observation and can attain Research Grade. Once it is planted in its new location it’s a casual observation.

Of course, if it reproduces in its new location then observations there of that species in subsequent years could represent wild individuals and also be RG.


Thanks for the suggestions! I will have to give those fields a try. I have quite a few “series” of pictures of the same plants at different times of year etc. and was wondering what the best way to connect them would be. Sometimes none of them on their own are conclusive for ID, but together they are.

For the rescue plants, I agree having a picture from the original location would be best and solve everything, and for future rescues that’s certainly something to remember. However, for those that have already happened in the past, that opportunity was missed and I only have pictures of the plants in pots or after being replanted. I guess I could add observations with the date and location of rescue without a picture and link it to the “casual” observations after potting/replanting. I’m not sure how useful that would be from a research perspective though since then neither record would be able to attain research grade.

I also think the wild observation is the primary and maybe the only record needed. You can note in the description the rescue story and new location (if it’s not rare/collectable). If it was me, I’d only make an observation of the new location if I went back on a later date to check survival.

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