How often have we walked around neighbourhoods or gardens and wondered what name a plant has? To have the answer at your fingertips seems like a luxury. The idea that you can hold your smartphone over a plant and activate a phone App to identify a plant, is the stuff of dreams.
One site YouhadmeatGardening reviewed the App choices in 2020. Can’t get more current than that! This site looks at the 9 best plant identification apps:
Free plant identification apps
Paid plant identification apps
Other plant identification apps
When I learnt that gardening friend K was using PictureThis and happily so, it was time for me to try the application. To see what I thought.
Instead of paying an annual subscription of $29.99 I chose the one week free trial (which included submitting my credit card details). The software downloaded on my smartphone within seconds and I was operational outside with great eagerness, within a couple of minutes, only delayed by layering up in warm clothes to protect from the cold still air.
The program was easy to use. Click on ‘new’ and a shape/space appears on your phone. You let your phone hover this shape over the plant and click. Around my garden I went snapping plants I knew and those I didn’t know.
The information provided by PictureThis was in depth; scientific name, common names, growing habit and conditions with comparable photos and much more. Some plants were identified within milliseconds while others I gave up on, such as the avocado. But then later I noted the identification had been made and stored on my phone.
In one instance my Wild Celery (which I had known as Parcel incorrectly) was identified as Wild Carrot while the other equivalent plants were correctly named – but the photos used for comparison purposes clearly showed me this wasn’t a carrot.
So the in-built feature which offered a smattering of photos taken by others is particularly useful. There was one of my plants to which three different identities were given when I took three different photos, all of which I believe are wrong.
Of course the identification can only be as good as my photograph, and I suspect the identification would be easier at different times of the year depending on the nature of the plant and its growth and flowering pattern.
The lettuces which I am growing inside my sunny warm front porch, had never had a name. Now I know they are Romaine lettuces (Lactuca Sativa).
At the end of my happy hunting, I cancelled my free trial. In part I wanted to determine whether the cancellation does happen because reviews of some Apps complain about the inability to cancel – not this App but plant identification Apps in general: within 15 minutes the process for unsubscribing had been emailed to me and it all worked well. Unfortunately, I have too many current commitments and won’t need/unlikely to use the App in the foreseeable future.
Please let me know if you trial another App and whether the process is fun and useful. I believe any such Apps will be an indispensable tool for someone about to establish a garden (could be good for your new house M?), so that when wandering through a plant nursery or private garden trying to determine which plants might be used, a record with names can be kept.