Spruces: Defaulting in DQA to Organism is Not Wild?


I’ve noticed that many of the observations for spruces on Governors Island in New York City are showing up in the DQA as Organism is Not Wild. Is this something the person submitting the observation does or is it another user making this change or is this a default that needs to be upvoted to wild?

Here’s one from Governors Island as Not Wild:

Here’s a random observation of “Spruces” that has a Wild checkmark in the DQA:

I see that the second URL above does not have a No vote for Organism is Wild and appears to have defaulted to Wild = Yes.



They’re voted automatically because other observations nearby are cultivated. And yeah, both are not looking wild.


As @melodi_96 said, the ones that identify iNaturalist as the voter for “not wild” are based on the designations of other observations of the same species in the area. You can vote “wild” for these in the same way that you can vote “wild” if another user had entered it. I think the purpose of the iNaturalist vote is to get likely cultivated organisms out of the “Needs ID” category faster.


Thanks @melodi_96 and @paloma for your responses.

If we take Blue Spruce in New York City would it make sense that these should all be Wild = No? There are 17 observations and all are Wild = Yes. It seems the vote to make them Wild is to get them out of the Needs ID state as mentioned by @paloma even though they may be planted by people.

Here are the 17 observations for NYC that are all Wild = Yes for Blue Spruce:

Can I assume that the Wild / Not Wild situation is a bit of a sticky situation?

Thanks again.

Unfortunately, yes, it is. There are frequent posts and discussions about it (indeed, right now there is a new post proposing a survey to ask people/s opinions on what criteria are important for judging that status).

iNat has pretty clear guidelines for what’s considered wild versus captive, but people often don’t read those, and people often go by their own opinions regardless.


Here’s the rule from the iNaturalist help page at https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help (#8 under Observations), if that helps:

The system will vote that the observation is not wild/naturalized if there are at least 10 other observations of a genus or lower in the smallest county-, state-, or country-equivalent place that contains this observation and 80% or more of those observations have been marked as not wild/naturalized.


Many users don’t realise they need to mark planted plants, and in areas where iders have too many observations to check such observations can stay “wild” for years.


The Sibley Guide to Trees actually lists Blue Spruce as a wild (albeit introduced) species through much of New York.

Thanks for all the insights, links to threads and relevant discussions. I see this is an ongoing conversation but there are definite rules that are in place. Rule #8 mentioned in this thread makes perfect sense. It seems these system assigned “not wild” designations are simply over ridden to get IDs on observations to remove the Needs ID status.

Thanks again.

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it is not impossible for a blue spruce to seed in naturally from planted trees in NYC, but it’s much less likely than a tree being planted in that location so i think defaulting to cultivated in that particular place makes a lot of sense


Could you link to it?


Since the question has been answered and we have several other concurrent discussions about captive/cultivated/wild/not wild, I’m going to close this particular topic.