"Wild" vs. "planted" vs. "naturalized"

Nope, it’s not wild if it’s being taken care of, no matter how it got there.

@annkatrinrose if you don’t do something I think it’s okay, your case is edge one, but I think it would be more useful to leave it at wild if you’re not doing major work there and don’t weed out not to get rid of invasives but to take care of natives, I know those things kinda go together, but intention matters.

Are you sure? The iNat help page only mentions a plant being planted or not planted, nothing about being cared for.


Yes, I think you can read it in every previous topic about plants, specifically I remember an old fir case? I have bad memory on topic names, but yes, it matters as human actions affect how the plant lives, similar to how it can be planted or replanted.

That’s exactly where my confusion comes in with the iNat definitions. Another example: I have pansies all over the pots with my other perennials on my porch. These are all volunteers that are now the offspring of offspring of offspring of a pot of pansies I bought many years ago and they keep reseeding into everything else I keep in pots. Technically they should count as wild by iNat definition, even though they look like they were planted because they are not native and in pots with garden soil. I wouldn’t consider them naturalized either, but at this point none of the plants I have were planted by me.

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“Nope, it’s not wild if it’s being taken care of, no matter how it got there.”

I am not sure that is a logical statement. A test would be, can I “take care” of something that is wild? You would need to define “taken care of”.

If an organism that is being cared for counts as captive then there are entire species that are all captive. Like many endangered species and Purple Martins.

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I don’t know where you’re searching for specific logic as it’s not x=>y, it’s a regular sentence. And if you take care of it – it’s not wild, pretty logical imo, and proven by your “test”.
I already did it, it includes intentional weeding, intentional watering, etc.
@raymie we’re talking about plants now, animals have different rules.

Fair enough but by “endangered species” I was referring to both animals and plants.

It refers to specifical treatmeant though, I never heard about endangered plants being taken care of the same way as garden plant, do you know about such examples?

i do not think it is true that self-seeding plants that are tended by humans should be marked as ‘captive/cultivated’ on iNat. That’s a huge rabbit hole and not possible to dredge through on this platform. Rather, we should stick to Bouteloua’s graphic. Did someone plant it ? If you know the answer is no, it gets markeda s wild.

There are further designations that may be useful, for instance, red pine grows native in scattered stands here but is planted all over the place in these big plantations… the form are very different than the latter and the latter are ecologically depauperate and the trees don’t reseed far but a few might come up as ‘wild’. So there’s no real way to designate those which i think is kind of what the original poster was getting at here. But, I think that is too complex to get at here, i think it’s better managed by a field (‘native stand’ versus ‘planted stand’) or a traditional project “naturally occurring red pine stands” or something.


You are using “wild” in the following sense. “Those children are wild. I can’t enjoy my dinner.” When the issue of occurrence is being questioned, i.e., whether an organism posted in an iNat observation occurs at a specific location, at a specific time, etc., the relevant question is whether it was put there by intentional human intervention. Not whether someone prunes a branch, runs a sprinkler, or installs a fire retardant blanket.


I don’t get what you’re trying to achieve by this, for iNat cultivated is not only what was planted by humans, but also what is tendered by humans in more or less specific ways, it’s not on rules because we lack like half of things there, there’s even a topic about changing it.
And no, my sentence was ok, stop making fun of it.

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I am really not trying to make fun of your sentence. I am actually giving it thought. It was thought provoking. Your sentence just happened to make a very strong assertion that if something is taken care of, it cannot be wild. You set up that dichotomy. I question what constitutes being “taken care of” and disagree on how I think you are using that concept in relation to wild (relating to occurrence in iNat). The forum involves asking questions, providing opinions, and agreeing on terms. Agreeing on terms has to be a first step for meaningful conversation. If we are applying different terms or concepts that we never agree to, then everything in the conversation that follows is likely irrelevant. Respectfully.


Well, sure, it includes intentional caring, I have no better words, that take place right near the plant or with the plant itself, intention is brought to separate those cases where e.g. you water your garden and you can’t choose which small plant you water, so you’re providing all the weeds with water, while you don’t have intention to water them specifically, place is there so we can separate e.g. setting up a national park to save a population that includes this plant and park having some rules about not harvesting, and real manual pulling out weeds around it, and to think it should be sufficient to be noticed, like if you walk in the forest and move branches, sometimes specifically to open a spot, it’s not prolongated enough to say humans really intentionally affected how this plant grows, but this is more controvercial, I’d say just don’t do that and it’ll be easier for everybody and correct from ecological point of view. So, you see, there’re some forms of “taking care of” that apply to wild plans and don’t affect their status, but I referred to those more straightforward ones. To add example, there’s a small self-seeded sapling that grew in tall grass, a human finds it and makes sure no plants are in front of it, he waters it and loosen the ground around it, so this sapling gets what no others around it get, it grows faster and bigger than others, so it lives by the same standarts a planted plant does, it just started its cycle by being wild, then its life was seriously impacted by humans with intent focused on this plant.

As a thought experiment, how would you suggest dealing with this observation?



I would say if it’s fence alone it’s okay for wild, but I don’t know what else is going on there. Personally I like to see more wild than cultivated ones, we just need more background about each observation, something we don’t see almost never.

@raymie Are you conflating “native” versus “wild”? The situation is more nuanced than you suggest. “Naturalized” is a useful category for a number of situations where the growth and reproductive habits of plants themselves are the governing “force”.

Confounding examples include such things as the Willow-leaf Aster and Giant Goldenrod I have in my back yard. Both are native to this county, but neither was found in my immediate neighborhood prior to my actions. I transplanted local stock from about 20 miles away to my yard. These are native and not “cultivated” species. But since I was the agent of their occurrence on Salton Drive, I don’t post images of these as “wild” at my location. But now each of those original transplants has reproduced and spread further in my yard and elsewhere nearby–native species reproducing on their own within their native range. Those newer populations would best be considered "naturalized* at this location. Not cultivated, and not native to the site.

Cultivated species (non-native to a region) which have escaped cultivation (by natural propagation, spread of seeds by birds or other natural agents) and are reproducing in the natural habitats on their own will be considered “naturalized”. They are “wild” in the current iNat sense of being in a natural habitat and reproducing on their own, but their origin was due to an original cultivated stock.


I meant in the context of iNat, how plants are defined on this site. Unlike animals, which have numerous gray areas, iNat has easily defined definitions of wild or cultivated, so much so that every individual plant fits into one of the two categories (see @bouteloua’s chart above). Obviously naturalized or waif have their own definitions to botanists, but here on iNat there’s no need for them as any plant can easily be marked into one of the two states. Adding any more is just asking for confusion and misuse.

Absolutely there are grey areas - like I mentioned in my comment! There are cases where it’s difficult to determine whether something is wild or cultivated. But ultimately those two categories are still strictly exclusive. The issue is just with pinning down exactly where the line between them lies. The existence of that grey area (very widely discussed on this forum!) doesn’t have any influence on OP’s original suggestion of adding ‘naturalized’ as one of the categories to select.

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I leave a note on the iNat obs
Volunteered, not planted - call it iNat Wild.