With millions of plant species and varieties out there, the odds are you don’t know the names of a tiny fraction of them. Roses? Sure. Lavender? Easy. But what about differentiating between regular creeping Ivy and Poison Ivy? Poppy or Anemone? It can get quite confusing when you’re planning your companion garden, especially for beginners, or just, you know, taking a stroll around the neighbourhood and spotting pretty plants you’d like to know more about. If you’ve got a piqued interest in all things flora, then this ‘Shazam‘-like app is just for you!

Pl@ntNet is a brilliant app developed by four French research organisations (Cirad, INRA, Inria and IRD) that identifies, explores and shares plant information using your phone’s camera. In addition to the app’s existing database of known species, it also continually collects contributing data from users so the number of identifiable plants will continue to grow, kind of like an open source encyclopedia! If you find a species and are able to identify it correctly, you can submit your observation with the ‘contribution’ button and the panel will moderate and validate accordingly.

The app is currently limited to not being able to pick up and identify edibles or ornamental plants just yet, but so far it can help you find out if a plant is safe to eat or poisonous which is great if you’re part of the growing foraging movement. But the best part of this app is that it’s such great motivation to get outside and go spend some time wondering about in nature! Bliss!

The app is free for both Android and iOS.

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