Captive / Cultivated in Urban Environments

One thing I have never fully understood on this site is the definition of captive / cultivated as it relates to plants in an urban environments.

I live in Chicago. There is a lot of amazing restoration work going on here, but without that work there would be hardly any native plants here at all because of the way the land has been subdivided and the extremely intensive methods most people use to manage their property actually prevents natural succession. A lot has been said about the need for restoration and management in these highly fragmented environments and I help to work on this big project whenever I hear about an opportunity to do so.

Since I live in Chicago most of the places I can go to see native plants and the wildlife that rely on them are still managed significantly because they have to be. A lot of the most active people on this site are site stewards and they're doing incredible work restoring habitats in urban environments.

From what I've gathered, the plants at Lurie garden or say outside of the Notebaart Nature museum are considered 'captive'...because they're in a garden? But it doesn't seem much different to me than the plants at Somme, except that Somme is an actual remnant. It's an older restoration, but without humans clearing the buckthorn, seeding it and burning it, Somme wouldn't be the thriving place it is. I'm certain that butterflies don't care about the difference between an aster seeded in a restoration, one planted in a garden, or one growing on the side of the road. They're all good. But I don't know which if any of those should be considered 'naturally occurring'.

If you look at the map of Rattlesnake Master, the recent restorations at Notebaart and the south pond show up...I know these were planted by people, but they were planted for conservative purposes. At the Lurie the rattlesnake master is spreading like crazy and in fact they cut it back significantly this year but it doesn't show up, I guess because that's a garden and it's mixed in with nativars? I'm not sure. There is certainly more milkweed there than almost any site I've seen in Chicago and that is in inat. I've definitely posted some interesting insects from there but I have resisted posting the swamp milkweeds, blazing stars and prairie smoke because I know they were 'planted' and presumably 'cultivated'. But they're also spreading from their initial planting so maybe it's OK?

I've been planting a fair amount of milkweed around my place, again for conservative purposes, and especially because I want to take pictures of the butterflies that they attract. Since I know I went and got it from a native plant sale then stuck it in the ground and I don't want to screw up the real science going on with the data collected from this site I haven't posted it. But maybe I should? The Urban Monarch Conservation tools actually do seem to be pulling data at least from a map of gardens, they have correctly marked the prairie "garden" near my house as being a dense milkweed planting but have marked my census tract as having none. But I do have milkweed — I planted it!

Curious what some of the curators from the area think about this. I'm sure it has come up before but I'm just unclear on where the line is. @bouteloua @sanguinaria33 @sedge @missgreen @elfaulkner


הועלה ב-אוקטובר 23, 2018 03:44 אחה"צ על ידי taco2000 taco2000






אוקטובר 21, 2018 11:39 לפנה"צ CDT


But they're also spreading from their initial planting so maybe it's OK?
If a species is spreading from where it was originally planted, indicate that in your description and mark it pre-emptively as "wild" so that others know not to mark it as as cultivated. If a plant appears to be in a garden (i.e. area around is is weeded, surrounded by mulch) assume people are going to mark it as cultivated.

Also, weird, I didn't receive a notification for this blog post. I just happened to run into it while browsing all the recent posts. (at

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