Not everyone needs to be an expert on flowers, trees, shrubs and weeds. But from time to time it is useful to know one or another plant. Maybe to find out if there’s a healthy medicinal herb growing in the front yard or an edible fruit in the park. Smartphones and powerful image recognition enable quick identification of plants via app. Google Lens is certainly the most prominent solution, but there are also other providers with interesting alternatives.
Identify plants with Google Lens
The free Google Lens app is available for Android and is part of the camera app of some smartphone manufacturers. For example with OnePlus or Google Pixel phones. Alternatively, you can download the app from the Google Play Store. On iOS, use the Google app and select the square Lens icon in the search bar to access the feature.
Here’s how plant identification works with Google Lens:
- Launch Google Lens and tap Search with Camera.
- Center the plant you wish to identify in the square grid of the screen.
- Press the shutter, take a picture and wait a bit.
- Shortly after, Google provides image search results and hints at what plant it might be.
Alternatively, you can also select an existing image in Google Lens by tapping on a gallery photo after starting the app. Google automatically identifies objects, plants, animals…
Tip: You can also find Google Lens in the Google Photos app for iOS and Android. Select a photo and tap the Lens icon to analyze the image to identify plants.
More apps for plant identification
If you don’t want to identify plants with Google Lens, there are at least equivalent alternatives that work very similarly. An AI almost always helps recognize flowers, herbs, etc.
- Flora Incognita: This free app focuses on native wild plants, less on houseplants. The determination is very precise, but the plant must be photographed from several angles. The most effort is worth it, because here you get good results and relevant information. (Free, for iOS and Android, website)
- PlantNet comes from several French research institutes. The software recognizes more than 4100 wild plants (mainly from France). If you wish, you can submit your own determinations, thus increasing the PlantNet database. (Free, for iOS and Android, website)
- PictureThis is a powerful encyclopedia that lets you identify over 17,000 plant species. You can even save your living room plants and be reminded when you need to water again. You can “scan” plants every day, but if you use the free plan, this is only possible to a limited extent. For unlimited use, you have to pay a monthly subscription price (just over 3 euros). (Free/Subscription, for iOS and Android, website)
- iNaturalist: Cool here – you can also identify insects that are, for example, on plant leaves. Another strong point is the active exchange within the community. The database is constantly growing. (Free, for iOS and Android, website)
- Although Naturblick “only” knows grasses, wildflowers and deciduous trees, you can even record bird songs and have them analysed. The application is not extensive compared to other representatives, but like most other tools, it is free. (Free, for iOS and Android, website)
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