Cool Plant Tools: A Sampling of Plant-Related Apps (Part 1)

There’s An App For That?

I can’t believe it’s only been seven years since the iPhone was first introduced by Steve Jobs in 2007 and only four years since Jobs introduced the iPad.

Since then, hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads have been sold, and dozens of other types mobile-computing devices with cameras have been developed and sold in the millions.

And as you can see if you cruise through the iTunes App store or through Google Play app store, software developers have been busy filling virtually every imaginable niche with computer applications for your smartphone or tablet.

Among these hundreds of thousands of different apps are some that are botany related. What I’d like to do is offer you a sampling of some of my favorite plant-related apps.

(Please Note: This is NOT a comprehensive list of plant-related apps. And most of such apps I’ve used are for North America (particularly the U.S.) because that’s where I live. There are lots of other botany-related apps out there, which you can find by searching online, including the various app stores.)

OK. Here we go……

  • leafsnap
  • Way back in 2011, I scribbled a post about one of the earliest botany-related iPhone apps leafsnap.

    Well, leafsnap is still available (requires iOS 4.2 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch), and it’s only gotten better.

    (And now there’s even a version for our friends in the UK, named, appropriately, leafsnap UK.)

    Simply put, leafsnap helps you identify trees from snaps (photos) of leaves that you take with your smartphone or tablet.

    Leafsnap works by using technology similar to facial-recognition software, by matching a simple photograph of a leaf against a database of tree species.

    Perhaps the best place to go in order to understand and to use leafsnap is Leafsnap: An Electronic Field Guide.

    According to the leafsnap website and iTunes app store: “Leafsnap currently includes the trees of the Northeast and will soon grow to include the trees of the entire continental United States.

    Did I mention that leafsnap is a FREE app?

  • HighCountry Apps

    Slide 1If you live in the Western United States or plan to visit there this summer, and you’re interested in electronic field guides of the wildflower kind for your smartphone or tablet, you should probably check out HighCountry Apps.

    These folks provide wildflower field guide apps not only for the major national parks such as Yellowstone, Glacier and Yosemite, but also for the states of Idaho, Colorado and Washington.

    Newly added for 2014 are apps for the wildflowers of Oregon state and also for the grasses of Montana. (I suspect my former colleague Prof. Matt Lavin may have had something to do with the Montana grass guide.)

    I’ve used their Washington state wildflower guide app, and I think it’s great. (But don’t take my word for it. Check out the many positive reviews on their website and the various app stores.)

    Most of the Highcountry apps cost $7.99. All of them work on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, and many of them also work on the Kindle Fire.

    Quoting from their website: “High Country Apps is dedicated to developing applications that deliver high quality natural history information with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Our goal is to enable discovery! We present information in simple, non-technical language that will delight and empower the rank amateur who loves the outdoors and wants to learn more. Yet we are also meticulous about creating scientifically accurate apps, thus making them excellent tools for serious biologists.”

    Disclaimer: I receive no financial remuneration nor any other support (that I know of) from the makers of these apps.

    HowPlantsWork © 2008-2014 All Rights Reserved.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.