The PlantNet app is helping budding plant enthusiasts and industry professionals to identify, catalog and share plant species. Hailed as the new ‘Pokemon Go’ for green thumbs its encouraging users to get outdoors and capture them all.
An estimated 400,000 flowering plant species exist in the world, proving difficult to keep track of all species, let alone variety off-shoots. The vast majority of non-industry folk can only recognise and name a handful of plants, and keeping on top of new varieties proves difficult for many an industry long-timer. Enter PlantNet, a way for you to bring technology out of doors and help sharpen the collective knowledge surrounding plant species.
PlantNet not only allows users to identify plants they come across, the app allows the sharing of extensive knowledge surrounding species and varieties. The uses for this app could prove extremely valuable for people unsure about the toxicity of wild vegetation, or closer to home, it could allow casual gardeners to correctly identify unwanted weeds and pests. The app works by collecting data from a large social network which uploads pictures and information about plants. Scientists from four French research organisations including Cirad, IRA, Inria/IRD, and the Tela Botanica Network developed the app.
The app also features visualisation software which recognises many plant species, provided they have been illustrated well enough in the botanical reference base. PlantNet currently works on more than 4,100 species of wild flora of the French territory, and the species list is provided through the application. While only a small percentage of plant species can be identified so far, the more users who join, and the more participants from different countries become involved, the more diverse this app will become.
The PlantNet app is available for iPhone and Android devices and is commonly referred to as the ‘Shazam for plants’.