By: Courtney Rose
Have you ever been on a hike or walk and passed a plant and wondered what it could be named? Perhaps you’ve bought a new house and want to know what’s already planted and how to maintain and care for the plants that are in your new landscape? In the past, I remember having to use the National Audubon Society Field Guides to ID any trees or plants and carefully matching the photo in the book with the number of points on a leaf or matching other various characteristics of the plant. I remember painfully going through one of these Audubon books for a class in high school where I had to pull around 50 leaves and ID them in a scrapbook for an end of year project.
Now that it’s the future, you can just pull out your smartphone and use a handy new app called PlantSnap. All you have to do is hold your phone over a leaf or flower, take a photo and the app then compares the leaf shape or flower to their database and provides several options for what the plant could be named. You’ll still have to use your best judgement as to how the plant in the photo in the app best matches the plant in real life to determine the name.
As a plant enthusiast, of both indoor and outdoor plants, this app has been helpful when I come across something in a store I like, but I can’t be sure it’ll survive either indoors at my house or in my shaded yard because the plant doesn’t have an ID. The app will quickly give me a few options of what the plant ID could be and I can then determine if I should purchase it and how well it’ll do in my yard/house.
The app has a free version and a paid version for both iPhone and Android. I use the free version for Android as I’m not sure how much better the app could be if you paid for it since it’s not 100% accurate with every result.
Overall, this app has been a fun way to ID plants I’m not familiar with, but also useful in confirming my suspicion of poison ivy and poison oak when necessary so I can avoid the wrath of its vines!