Plant Identification Apps for Gardeners

Our smart phones can be wonderful tools and there are several apps available on our phones that can help with plant identification. 

How Plant ID Apps Work

Most of these apps work by allowing you to snap or upload photos of the unknown plant that can then be analyzed and provide a listing of plants they could potentially be, often with a percentage of confidence in the identification.  Some will allow you to input additional information about what is in the picture (flowers, leaves, fruit, etc.) and information about location or time of year to help return accurate results.  Others will utilize metadata associated with the photo to understand the location, time of year, and other attributes that can help identify the plant.

How to Best Use Apps for Plant ID

These apps are best utilized to aid in identification, not as a tool to definitively identify the plant.  Rather than identifying the plant outright, they provide a much shorter list of potential plants that can be further researched to then identify.  This can make the process of identification much easier as it can help narrow the possibilities and allow you to more quickly get to an answer.  For this reason, these apps are great tools for gardeners to use!

Picture of a cell phone taking a picture of a plant
Apps on your cell phone are one tool to help identify plants.

Potential Plant ID Apps to Use

There are a lot of options available on both Apple and Android phones.  Some have costs associated with them and some are free. A few apps to consider include:

  • PlantNet
  • LeafSnap
  • Plantsnap
  • Seek
  • iPlant
  • PictureThis
  • Google Lens
  • and many others

This is not a complete list of potential apps and no endorsement is implied.  Each has its strengths and drawbacks and which app you use will depend on cost, smart phone platform, and your personal preferences.

Remember the old computer adage, “garbage in, garbage out” applies here as well.  High-quality photos and as much accurate information as you can provide will allow these convenient tools to do the best job in aiding you in plant identification.

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