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Try the Picture This app for plant identification

Try the Picture This app for plant identification

Frustrated you can’t identify a plant in your yard? Try the Picture This app!


Dave Jobes, Ph.D.

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            As a former botanist, I’m pretty good at identifying many of the flowers and trees in our yard and the parks, but everyone once in a while, I get stumped and need help. I used to resort to sifting through my old botany books to try to find out what I’m looking at, but now there are some really great apps that simplify the search and identification process for you. My favorite so far is Picture This. It is available for both Android and iOS so pretty much everyone can enjoy it, and it is really easy to use, especially now that essentially all mobile phones have great cameras.

            So here is all you need to do. Open up the Picture This app, center the flower (flowers work way better than leaves…) and take a picture. The app will search through its fairly large database of plants (the developer says >4,000 and counting) and provide you with several potential matches, that you can then go through yourself to determine the best match. While the app website claims 90% accuracy, I seem to be hitting ~75%, which is still pretty great and much, much faster than digging through old botany books!

            Next time you go out into the woods for a nature walk, open up the app and give it a try. The app provides some great information on each plant so you’ll enjoy your walk and learn a lot about nature at the same time!