Here are a few mobile apps I have found that are not only free to utilize but also fun and easy to navigate. Afterall, if they are not easy they won’t get utilized and we all benefit from better understanding our environment.
LeafSnap – Plant Identification – This app has a few interesting features including Home, My Plant, Tasks and Settings. Home is broken down into two versions “Identify” and “Advanced”, the identify version is for quick identification of the plant in question who may use a photo previously uploaded or take a new photo if the specimen is available.
My Plants is a folder containing your photos previously taken and plants identified. It also can identify using a leaf, flower, fruit, bark, tree, or “other”.
The Task folder contains scheduled task which may be required and can be logged using this feature such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, etc.
Settings allows the user to access tips on taking better photos of specimens, sending images to others, change languages and addresses frequently addressed questions (FAQ’s). It also allows the user to select the zone or region of the world they happen to be in or more importantly the specimen may reside in to assist in identification.
From a personal standpoint I found this app fun and very easy to use to identify vegetation around my neighborhood and the nearby park. I helped identify some very exotic and also very common species.
Flora Incognita – Automated Plant Identification – This app allows the user the option of setting up an account or utilizing the services without setting up a profile. The ease of use is amazing as it provides tips on how to take the best picture to provide the best result. It is best to use in zoom mode and get as close to the subject as possible for the most accurate identification.
By accessing Identify Plant you are taken to a variety of option including, Cactus, Grass, Flower, Tree, Fern, and “other”.
A cool feature is that it records where in the world you took the photo to as part of My Observations, but you must allow the app to track your location.
The Species List provides a specimen quality example in picture form of each of the available species in your country. This listing can be provided by type of vegetation fern, cactus, grass or alphabetically by simply changing the method of search.
Much like LeafSnap I found this mobile app easy to use which makes it al the more enjoyable to use. I would recommend this app for beginner plant identifiers and those who want to keep a folder of their findings. No ads also makes this a fine choice for a free app.
Seek by iNaturalist – Seek is a mobile app which is associated with iNaturalist another app that I have used recently and found very useful. Seek is different in that it identifies plants, amphibians, fungi, fish, reptiles, arachnids, birds, insects, mollusks and
You can earn “badges” by raising your level of participation and identifying different types of species and participating in challenges. This would be a great exercise for a classroom setting. For instance, July is “Exoskeleton Challenge” month!
By typing in my location of interest ((Brayton Forest) it displays various species common to the area which I may be able to seek and locate. A flora/fauna scavenger hunt basically. I will put this to use my next time in Brayton.
The use may also select all species to find the myriad of different species which may inhabit the area of interest or specific locale you may find yourself in. This application of the tool provides for a great opportunity to promote interest in the biodiversity found in a specific area.
Once you have located a species and tapped the identifier the app displays information about the species, the full taxonomic classification, how many iNaturalist observations that have been made worldwide, the species-specific seasonality and similar species of those that may be found in the research area.
Very impressive tool which combines a great learning opportunity as well as great fun, very well named…Seek!