You know the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”? Well, in our experience, the rains and winds also deliver a bounty of mysterious plants, dare we say weeds to backyards across the country. Now, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, with a simple click of a smartphone camera and the installation of a downloadable app you can easily identify new growth as friend or foe. Extremely useful when the neighbourhood botanist is not readily available.
There are several feature-rich apps available on the market for both Android and IOS devices, and many of them are FREE. Our top choices for free versions are:
Pl@ntNet is self-described as a “citizen science project on biodiversity.” Over one million images are grouped into projects which are collected and reviewed by scientists around the world leading to a deeper understanding of plant biodiversity. With the aid of this powerful app, users can successfully identify flowering plants, trees, grasses, conifers, ferns, vines, and cacti. Currently, Pl@ntNet can successfully recognize approximately 20,000 species.
iNaturalist, a joint initiative of the California Academy of Science and the National Geographic Society strives to connect people to nature while generating scientifically important biodiversity data. Over one million scientists and naturalists help users identify both plants and animals. Truly a global network, iNaturalist is used in every country on earth!
PlantSnap has partnered with Snapchat in efforts to engage younger generations. Globally, plantsnappers are reconnecting with nature and sharing photos of plants, flowers, cacti, succulents, and mushrooms. Currently, the PlantSnap searchable database features over 600,000 plants.
As the long weekend approaches, we encourage everyone to step outdoors and start clicking! Science needs you and experimenting with these apps is infinitely more fun than weeding!