Cool Plant Tools: A Sampling of Plant-Related Apps (Part 3)

FCWhat’s That Plant? What’s That Mushroom? And More…

On this brief tour of botanical apps, we previously had a look at Garden Compass. This plant identification app is for IOS devices, such as iPhones and iPads.

But what about all those millions of people who use Android-based smartphones and tablets? Is there something equivalent to Garden Compass for them?

I’m pleased to say that the answer is yes. And, somewhat surprisingly, this Android app may actually be better than Garden Compass, which I think is quite an impressive app.

So, why may this Android app be better than Garden Compass?

Well, for one thing, this Android app maybe useful for identifying not only garden plants, but also wild plants, and even mushrooms, mosses, and lichens.

And, also, I prefer the way they have “monetized” this app compared to the Garden Compass model. To wit:

Bucks For Botanists

With Garden Compass, plant identifications are “free” (limited to 20 per month, however), but you must provide them your location and device identification information (so that they can attempt to sell you other stuff).

Wouldn’t it be better to simply pay (say, for example, a dollar) for each plant ID?

This is the primary monetization model used by the Android app I’ve been talking about, which is:

  • FlowerChecker

    FlowerChecker is a free (to install) plant identification app for Android devices (not yet available for iPhones and iPads, but they are working on it – from an email I received from a member of the FlowerChecker development team on 6/20/2014: “The development of iOS app starts next week so that the betaversion is expected to be released in August or September. We have a waiting list for those who want to try a betaversion — (we’ll send them e-mail when it is finished)“.

  • According to the FlowerChecker website:
    This app provides plant identification service. You simply take a picture of an unknown plant (or moss, lichen and even fungi) and get it identified by international team of experts.
    The identification process is not computer-based, it requires human involvement. Therefore each identification is paid using Google’s in-app purchase. One plant identification costs 1 USD / 0.7 EUR. If we can’t identify your plant, you don’t pay anything.
    Everybody gets one identification for free as a trial.
    Our team will respond as soon as possible, but the identification usually takes minutes or hours. So far, we have been able to identify 90% plants in average.

    Please Note: Before installing the FlowerChecker app on your Android device, you should be aware that, like Garden Compass, this app can access personal information on your device, including location. (Of course, you should always carefully read the capabilities of any app before you install it on your device.)

    Anyway, I was OK with all this, and I installed the free FlowerChecker app on a Nexus 7 (2013 version), got my free identification, and prepaid for five more (prepaid, it’s $1 for one, $4.50 for five, and $15 for twenty identifications). By the way, according to an email I received from FlowerChecker, “the income is half-half divided between botanists and developers“.

    Thus, I sent FlowerChecker six different photos to test their identification skills – 3 garden plants, 2 wild plants & 1 mushroom.

    Untitled How did they do? All of the identifications were spot on.

    Briefly, here’s how FlowerChecker works:

    1. After installing and launching the app for the first time, you have one free identification credit to use.
    2. Select “New Request” and you’re then presented with a fresh screen allowing you (a) to ask a question, most commonly, “What is this plant?”, (b) to select a category, such as “garden plant”, “wild plant”, “mushroom”, etc., and (c) finally, to take a photo or to select one or more photos from your “Gallery”. (Please see here for a series of screen shots.)
    3. After you submit your request, the FlowerChecker team will process it within 24 hours.
    4. Nice Feature: Unlike Garden Compass, all of this occurs within the FlowerChecker app rather than via email.
    5. After a few hours, check back with your FlowerChecker app, and the team most likely will have processed your request and identified your plant. You don’t pay unless you accept, and, if so, then your request is marked “Resolved”.

    Two Thumbs Up (Way Up!) For FlowerChecker

    If you are looking for a plant identification app for your Android device, I highly recommend

    I found that their identifications were both accurate and delivered within the time they promised.

    However, as I didn’t have them try to identify any lichens or mosses, and only one mushroom, I can’t vouch for their competence in identifying these categories of “plants”.

    But, based on the positive feedback for this app posted on the Google Play store, I’m confident that the FlowerChecker team can do about as well as one could expect.

    Please keep in mind that even the best botanists can only go so far in identifying plants from merely pictures. Frankly, I’m amazed how well the FlowerChecker team did in my cases, considering that all they had to go on were my crappy photos.

    It’s said that “actions speak louder than words”. So, perhaps my most sincere endorsement is that, after using the FlowerChecker app for this blog post, I purchased 20 more identifications for $15.

    Personally, I prefer paying developers and botanists directly for their services, rather than indirectly, via advertising.

    Finally, as previously mentioned, can providing employment for botanists (and developers) be a bad thing? I think not!

    Disclaimer: I receive no financial remuneration or any other support (that I know of) from the makers of these apps.

    HowPlantsWork © 2008-2014 All Rights Reserved.

    One Comment

    1. I had read an article on plant identification apps. Here’s the link of it
      I was written in that you can also identify plants using google images. Has anyone tried it.

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