Hey plant lover! Do you already have plant identification apps on your phone? If you don’t, you’re missing out. After all, how often do you come across an amazing flower, mushroom, or leafy green and wonder what it is? We’ve rounded out the best plant ID apps for you to check out on your iPhone or Android. They’re basically like having a helpful botanist friend in your pocket, helping you to expand your plant knowledge.
Benefits of Plant Identification Apps
Have you ever been out for a walk in your neighbourhood, or hiking out in the woods, and come across a plant or tree that really piqued your interest? But you had no idea what it was, or where you might get one of your own? It’s happened to me many times.
Creepily leaning into someone’s yard to take a photo really wasn’t an option. Similarly, neither was making a descriptive mental note and hoping I’d remember when I got home. As a result, there wasn’t much I could do to identify the unknown plants I discovered.
I’m guessing that’s happened to you too.
Even if you were able to get a photo, or remembered enough details to properly research when you got home, searching online could easily take hours. Furthermore, so many plants have lookalikes that you weren’t guaranteed to get an answer. It’s incredibly frustrating when this happens, isn’t it?
Well, you’ll be really happy to hear that a number of plant enthusiasts have created apps made for both Android and Apple (IOS) platforms for just this purpose. I’m focusing on 9 of the apps that I’ve found really interesting, and hope you’ll like them too!
I’ll tell you what they’re for and how they work. Go ahead and check out the list and try out a few: they’re all a little different in their looks and function, so you’re bound to find at least one that’s right for you.
1. Plant Snap
Plantsnap is one of the greatest all-around plant identification apps. The fact that it’s available for use in over 30 languages means a broad range of people can access it. Better still, the app’s instantaneous nature is also very appealing. All you need to do is snap a picture of the plant, tree, or even mushroom. Then, the app will search its database of over 500,000 species. The app was created by Earth.com and is available on both IOS and Android platforms.
One of the latest updates to the app allows for identification without having to take a picture. You simply allow your camera to scan the plant. Another really convenient feature is that you can purchase plants that you’ve identified from certified nurseries directly via the app.
This app doesn’t provide the instant gratification of the previously mentioned app. In contrast, the answers you’ll get are provided by an international team of botanists, making it one of the most accurate plant identification apps out there. So far, over 50% of submitted photos have been identified within the hour.
This app can be used to identify plants, mosses, fungi, and even lichens. Since there are real people working in the background to identify your plant, a charge of $1USD will be applied to each successful identification. The app is available for download on both IOS and Android platforms.
For the arborists out there, LeafSnap focuses solely on trees, and is a collaboration between the Smithsonian, the University of Maryland and Columbia University. Additionally, the app’s UK version has partnered with the Natural History Museum to focus on identifying tricky-to-recognize species.
In order for the app to identify a tree, the photo taken must be of a single leaf on a white background. The app is free to use but is currently only available to use on IOS platforms. Work is being done to release it on Android as well, but as the work is done solely by volunteers, there’s no firm release date at this moment.
4. Garden Compass Plant/Disease Identifier
This is one of the best plant identification apps, as it does double duty: it can identify both the plant itself and assist you in identifying diseases that may be plaguing it. As noted in some of our other problem-related articles, it’s very important to identify diseases properly in order to deal with them appropriately, without causing more harm to the plant.
Simply take a photo of the plant or disease you wish to identify, and submit it to their team of experts.
They’ll determine the species for you and recommend a course of action to deal with diseases. They can also recommend how to prevent future outbreaks. The app is free to use but is currently only available for users with IOS 6 and up.
5. Picture This: Botanist in Your Pocket
This is another app that works by identifying plants via user-submitted photos. In fact, there are currently over 10 thousand species in the database. To date, 27 million plant photos have been successfully identified, and the app has a 95% success rate.
Visually clean, the app gives basic identification about the plant that has been identified as well as care information. In addition, you can find fun facts and literature regarding the plants you’re looking up. As an added bonus, this app allows users to communicate with one another by asking plant questions and exploring photos taken by other members around the world. This app is free to download on both IOS and Android platforms.
6. What’s That Flower?
This app might appeal to those who appreciate something a little different. Not everyone is as visual in their learning, and some people prefer using written information. As a result, this app requires you to select a flower’s colour, habitat, and number of petals.
Based on the information you provide, the app will give you a number of possible matches. This might also be helpful if you’re unable to take a photo at the moment for some reason. The basic app is free to download, but recent updates have seen add-ons such as additional search criteria, which cost money. At the moment, this app is only available for Android devices.
This is a collaborative app that’s meant to grow as scientists and other users add them to specific databases. If you want to identify a plant, you can select a photo already in your gallery, or you can take a photo and submit it for identification.
When you go to submit a plant, you’ll be asked to identify which region you live in. Then you’ll add a few details about the plant, such as whether there’s a flower or fruit in the photo. Make sure the photo clearly details a flower, leaf, or stem—preferably without other plants behind it. This app works best on outdoor plants found in the wild, and as such may not be as helpful for ornamental flowers and plants.
At the moment, PlantNet is only available on Android.
8. Garden Answers
This app covers a wide array of topics, and is probably the most extensive of all the plant identification apps I’ve seen so far. Use it to identify anything from annuals to trees, and even grasses. You can also identify diseases and communicate with experts to discuss just about any gardening topic you could think of.
The app also allows you to create folders to save your communication to look back on at a later date. It’s free to submit a photo for AI identification, but asking an expert will run you $1.99 per question. If the expert requests more pictures or follow-up information, you won’t be charged. This app is available on both Android and IOS platforms.
Geared towards farmers and more serious gardeners, Plantix is a startup that helps you to monitor the health of your crops with just the snap of your camera. The app has one of the largest databases dedicated to plant diseases and their remedies. You also have the option of communicating with other farmers from around the world, discussing all things related to crop production.
Depending on your crops the app will also give you advice tailored to help you increase your harvest’s quality and yield. There may be a business addition released sometime in the future, but for now the app is free and only available on Android devices.
As you can see from this list, there’s an extensive array of plant identification apps available.These won’t just help you identify unknown plants, but help with identifying and dealing with garden diseases as well. As you’ve seen, you can also use them to aid you in taking your gardening to the next level.
If you don’t see an app on this list that tickles your fancy, I would encourage you to search plant identification apps online. There are a surprising number out there, and you’re sure to find something just right for your needs and interests. As always, happy gardening, and best of luck with all your plant-based endeavors!