Should organisms in novel microhabitats that proliferate on their own be marked captive?

One of my favorite organisms to observe are greenhouse “weeds” or plants growing in small anthropogenic, often urban habitats. I will dutifully mark as cultivated/captive if it obviously was intended to be there, but if it’s a “volunteer”, I don’t. I’ve gotten pushback about this, even though Psilotum sp. (for example) are a common weed of greenhouses and an unintentional introduction.

What are your thoughts? I understand that range maps may look a little wonky, but that’s why an accurate location is key, as well as context.

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To me, if it wasn’t planted it should be considered wild on iNat.

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I’m with you. My husband made me a microbog in a whiskey barrel planter. We purposely bought some pitcher plants for it, but I was delighted to find some tiny sundews hitchhiked along. At the moment, I’m growing a mystery asterid in the front yard that was a bonus with a coneflower. I think it might be a type of daisy, but I’m not sure.
Weeds are helpful indicators of soil quality and growing conditions.

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If it’s just 1 vote you can countervote with your own tickmark- but adding context in the description can hopefully help others change their mind as well.

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If anything that took hold in a human-made habitat was considered captive, we’d have to apply that to every mouse, weed, and insect that was found anywhere within a town or settlement. The habitat is just the habitat, if the organism gets there and survives on its own then it’s not cultivated.

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Agreed. With @botanicaltreasures 's sundew example, I feel like it’s wild when it first appears as an unexpected volunteer, and then if you start to take specific/intentional care of it, it becomes cultivated (for any future observations).

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I agree, volunteers are wild, regardless of where found. When I post something that might raise questions, I try to add a description and/or comment that it was a volunteer, not planted and not cultivated, in hopes of warding off overzealous DQAers. And I try not to mark others’ observations as captive/cultivated if I think there is a chance that they are volunteers instead. I’ll either leave a comment and ask first, or just move on.

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What about greenhouse bicontrols (such as wasps, ladybeetles)? If they were purposely introduced to a greenhouse, but are allowed to reproduce and live without any more human intervention, are they wild?

If they don’t leave greenhouse they’re captive.

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Do you mean small annual species that often grow in pots or flowerbeds where other plants are cultivated? If so, they are true wild organisms that take advantage of the care given to the cultivated plants and spread together with their “host”

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I also mean the perennial species that grow in pots and cracks on their own. Anything not intentionally planted that willed itself to where it is.

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Can you make some example?
I thought you were referring to species as, for example, Poa annua, Cardamine spp., Erigeron spp., Fumaria spp., Sonchus spp. etc… thata are often found in nurseries growing in pots and that are spread by the movements of those pots.

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I don’t know plants well, but if I use the Tiger Lilly (Lilium bulbiferum) as an example, the ones growing in my front yard (such as it is), were planted, and come up every year. I would consider them cultivated. Down by the Red River, someone must have dumped a load of soil (I can see the likely source across the road), and the lilies are now growing wild. I consider them wild, but introduced. For what it’s worth.

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A population originated from unintentional dispersal for me is somethign very close to a wild one.

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What about a species that has been introduced to a greenhouse unintentionally, lives and thrives there on its own, but can’t survive outside of the greenhouse?

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Unintentionally = wild, who knows how it can spread to other greenhouses, etc.

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I think perennial greenhouse weeds like Psilotum nudum, Erharta, Oxalis corniculata, and those liverworts I can never remember the name of are wild, more or less. I’d mark them wild on iNaturalist. Plants brought in with plants you bought, like the sundews with the pitcherplants are a little more iffy, but they seem to me to be like waifs, plants that blow off trucks or get thrown out and survive. I count them as wild, too, though I can see why one might not.

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I’m with you Bonnie; but it does raise another question of map symbols that demarcate these different status’. wild in known natural range, wild/volunteer possibly outside natural range or an ‘escape’ from cultivation, and planted/cultivated/domesticated. afterall wild/reproducing cats escaped from domestication in NZ are identified as ‘wild’ but are well outside their natural range. c

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Very interesting! Now I have the task of going in to “correct” a number of observations marked as cultivars by others when in fact they were wild, most probably from folks dumping yard waste at the entrances of state hunting lands, etc.
Good topic!

It may have been a typo made by a spellchecker, but I just wanted to mention that the word is “cultivated”, which is not the same thing as “cultivar”. The latter means Cultivated Variety – those are names given by horticulturalists to plants that are bred to have certain special characteristics, characteristics that don’t occur in the wild species, but that are particularly valued by gardeners and horticulturalists.

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