There are certainly more species of plants on earth than one can remember in one sitting; a total of 400,000 types of plants have been discovered and named; however, a careful estimation may be there are still numerous to be found lurking in the dense forests or in far off lands. However, those that grow in our gardens are of particular interests to us and we really wish to know if they are friends or foes.
Thanks to modern technology it has now become fairly easy to have a pretty good idea about the nature and characteristics of a certain plant species; and it’s more accessible than you might imagine.
Knowing what is the mysterious weed growing next to your flowers or tomatoes is now at your fingertips; literally on your fingertips. The developers have now come up with a couple of apps with a plethora of information about a variety of characteristics of unknown plants growing in the wild or in your garden.
Leafsnap (For Trees)
This free app compatible with iPhone is created by the developers at Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the archives at Smithsonian Institution. Leafsnap’s framework is based on the very common technology called the facial recognition, that identifies the species from snaps taken by your phone. The app is highly user-friendly, and all you have to do is to take a leaf from the tree you need identifying for, place it on a white sheet of paper and take a snap using Leafsnap. The app then gets to work and tries to match the picture with an extensive database for tree leaves. The use of facial recognition enables the app to analyse the leaf from all possible angles and bring out the closest matches. In case two or more similar results are produced by the search simply choose the one that is found in your area and you are done.
Like That Garden (For Plants)
This innovative tool is designed to help people find the names of the flowers simply by taking pictures using the app. The app then puts to work its network of most trusted horticultural experts and a database of more than 6,000 various plant species to identify the flower as quickly as possible. The app is ever evolving, and the designers are determined that once fully integrated with all the information there is regarding the flower species the app will be faster and much more effective, without consulting the experts.
Although in a crisis situation; if you are stuck in the wilderness and want to know about a certain wild growing if its edible or not, these apps may not prove extremely robust. But the database can surely help to identify more plants than you previously knew, and as you keep using it you will develop an understanding of various plant species that grow in your area and certainly in your garden.