Should cultivars be able to be added to the taxonomy framework?

Should cultivars be added to INaturalist taxonomy? It would be useful if someone was trying to figure out which cultivars were more likely to escape. Other then that I don’t know what else it could be used for but knowing the people on this website they’d find something. What do y’all think?


Well, since cultivars are not taxa, or even clades I don’t think they should. Cultivars names are more like common names, anything can be registered as a cultivar.


While not taxa they are genetically distinct and can have very different qualities to other members of the species/subspecies. For example: hardiness, time of flowering, plant size, flower size, coloration, etc.

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Cultivars certainly are taxa. But they belong to a system of taxonomy which is defined completely separately from the systems for wild organisms (although it’s built upon and inspired by the ICN, the ICN in turn does not refer back to it). Given that inat is specifically about observing wild organisms, I don’t think it would be appropriate to incorporate a whole separate taxonomy system that is explicitly only for cultivated plants.

I can see that it might occasionally be interesting, like you said to observe which cultivars can end up escaping into the wild. But I think the amount of confusion it would cause - both in identifying individual observations and in users getting the impression than inat is intended for observing cultivated plants - would cause far more downsides than upsides.


If you know the cultivar name, you can put the info in a comment.


That’s a good point, despite once being an amateur I still sometimes forget that a lot of INat isn’t familiar with taxonomy and the concept of varieties, forms, cultivars, etc. Although cultivars do tend to be easier to identify than subspecies, varieties, etc.

Use observation fields, tags, or some other method, please.


Thank you for reminding me that observation fields exist lol

Nor are they necessarily monophyletic. I don’t know if this is true across the board, but in the Aroid community, the definition of a given cultivar is by description of its traits. The guidelines/rules specifically say that even if a new variant has an independent origin, if it matches the description of an existing cultivar, it is deemed to be the same cultivar and cannot be registered as a new one.

So, if I’m growing, say Dieffenbachia, and a new, spontaneous mutation occurs in my stock which produces a plant that matches the description of Dieffenbachia ‘Exotica’, then my new mutant is considered to be Dieffenbachia ‘Exotica’ even if that cultivar is not in its ancestry at all.

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From what I know with violets, violas, and pansies it’s just the basic rules. As long as they have different genetic origins you’re fine

Different cultivars respond differently to parasites (rusts, smuts, powdery mildews, downy mildews, leaf spots etc) and probably herbivores too (many of our cultivated food plants are forms of wild spp with the toxins bred out), some being completely protected (immune) some being very susceptible so it can be very important ecologically.
I’d say you should always record to the most precise taxonomic level you can identify. One day we’ll be expected to include barcodes…

There are indeed several observation fields that could be used for this:✓&q=cultivar&commit=Search


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