What should I do when cultivated plants are part of a natural interaction?

As I observe, for example, birds eating fruit, or hummingbirds drinking nectar, sometimes these wild species are feeding on cultivated plants. If I do not know the identity of the cultivated plant in these interactions, but I believe it may be important to my observation, what should I do? I do not want to clutter up iNaturalist with photos of plants that I know are cultivated; but I can’t google a plant if I don’t have a name to go on. Does anyone know of resources for identifying cultivated plants without already knowing their genera?

This is difficult, because almost any plant in existence can be/is cultivated somewhere in the world, so it then becomes a resource for all plants.

It’s perfectly fine to upload a photo of the plant if you want to get it ID’ed; just make sure you mark it as captive/cultivated. Whether you do that before or after getting an ID is a debated issue, but it’s fine to upload


I think officially you’re supposed to do first, though that may make it less likely to get an id. Some people do specifically look at cultivated plants though. I’ve had people refine IDs I’ve added to cultivated plants multiple times.


I’d say if you are interested in the cultivated plant and it is ecologically meaningful to other species in the area, definitely consider adding it. It’s not clutter as long as it’s flagged as cultivated. And, the algorithm is quite good with many landscape plants.


I agree, no prob adding these to iNat as long as they’re marked cultivated before you upload them.

Since these types of observations are not shown by default in Identify, it does take longer to get IDs. If you are really interested you could consider reaching out to people who identify cultivated plants in your area. Here’s a list of IDers of cultivated plants in the DR: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?captive=true&place_id=6931&verifiable=any&view=identifiers&iconic_taxa=Plantae

Here is a more refined list, only the IDers who add “improving” IDs to cultivated plants in the DR: https://jumear.github.io/stirfry/iNatAPIv1_identifications_identifiers.html?category=improving&place_id=6931&iconic_taxa=Plantae

You can make it easy for them by sending them a link to a filtered Identify search like this (currently 0 obs tho): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=casual&iconic_taxa=Plantae&user_id=jasonhernandez74&captive=true

Identifiers generally like to know that the people on the other end care about their ID contributions, so personally I’d be happy to receive such a request.


PictureThis …A garden docent recommended this app to me and I have a friend that likes it, too. I have not tried it myself. Sometimes, I suggested it to users who were posting a number of container and landscape plants as being more suitable to their needs or interests.

I list the Apple version, but I imagine it is available for most platforms.


Lately I’ve been using Google Lens to try to identify some cultivated plants. I save the photo on my phone, then open up Google Photos and use the Lens feature. (Of course after I’m done, I delete the photo off my phone, if it’s not mine.)

The advantage of Google Lens is that it gives you multiple similar images, so you can look through them and decide which is the best choice. For example, it helped me identify this plant as Tilesia, which is pretty impressive.

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