Semi-cultivated Plants?

Attended a field trip with the curator of a native garden in my area, saw these two observations:

How do you mark the second kind? I marked both as cultivated since someone’s taking care of and monitoring the area, but if something like this happened in my own garden, I would probably mark it as wild for the first observation.

If it’s taken care as everything else in the garden it is still cultivated imo.


iNaturalist guidelines state that species which escape from gardens and parks and manage to grow by themselves are considered wild. I would mark it wild if it spouted by itself and receives no intentional care, so truly it is there because no one has weeded it out. I would probably mark it as cultivated if it is getting human care after it sprouts, such as weeding around it, pruning, or irrigation is purposefully provided for that particular plant.


I just wanted to add that it can be helpful if you note “wild recruit” or “escapee” to the description/comments when you upload the image. When I’m editing the observations that get pulled into my projects, I specifically try to weed out the cultivated specimens, so knowing … 'yes, I know this is a landscaped yard but it is a wild recruit" can be very helpful.


If the plant reproduced on its own and still confined to the garden area, but is still cared by humans, in my opinion it’s up to you. For example, a specific animal may live in the wild but get most of its food from humans(geese, raccoons, pigeons, birds at bird feeders, etc.). I think the same could go for that plant. In my opinion, being casual or Research Grade should not matter if the offspring of the plant was not deliberately planted or seed-scattered in the area.
Finally, reproduced plants in captivity that are rare to the wild or are native but exploitably vulnerable likely should be captive.
Hope this helps

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When in doubt, I think it’s appropriate to mark any plant in someone’s garden, yard, or other deliberately managed land as “cultivated” if it belongs to a species that is commonly cultivated in that context.

For instance, imagine yourself in a corn field in Indiana. For any given corn plant, you don’t really know if it grew from seed the farmer planted that year, or seed that escaped harvest last year. If we look at the situation from a very literal “Did someone deliberately plant this particular individual or not?” viewpoint, we can’t tell if any individual corn plant should be marked “wild” or “cultivated”. If we look at the situation more broadly, we know that corn is there because it’s a corn field.


How many variations on this same convo are we going to have? Does everyone’s idea of a new edge case really merit its own thread?


You don’t have to read it. :-)


Probably not. Maybe all of these cultivated vs. wild-type topics ought to be merged together? I’m not sure if it makes the forum any better or worse though, whether there are 20+ topics with 10 replies each or 1 topic with 200+ replies. I would have otherwise tacked this question on to an existing topic, if I thought it fit there. My apologies if such a topic already exists and I hadn’t found it.

I think the number of threads on the issue points to a problem with the categorization system itself.

Plant-bias incoming, but:

If a plant is able to reproduce in that hardiness zone and it’s not obviously planted in a garden or urban setting, I tend to consider it wild, because even if it’s cultivated, it’s still functioning as if it’s wild; still forming guilds and associations, dispersing seeds, etc.

I also think there’s a gray area in science when trying to figure out when, exactly, a species becomes established and/or invasive. Given climate change and other anthropogenic disturbance, I think that’s kind of an important thing to monitor. I see lots of plant observations classed as casual regardless of where it’s growing because the species itself is considered captive/cultivated.


This - is it a wild plant - is part of the iNat learning curve for each of us.
Chime in or scroll on by, your choice.

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The second one is wild and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If it wasn’t intentionally planted by a human, it is wild.


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