The ultimate plant identifier

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By Samantha Loney
@blueloney
Apr 13, 2016,  12:43 PM

In our contemporary technological age it seems we have everything at our fingertips. With access to so much information, it is hard to believe that there is still so much of the planet that has been left undiscovered.

The environment and our natural resources have been a discussed point of focus for some time since the realization of global warming. Keeping educated on what our planet has to offer has never been more important. That is where the PlantNet app, which is available for iPhone and Android, comes in. The application was designed by French scientists at Cirad, IRA, Inria/IRD and Tela Botanica and educates people on the plant life around them by identifying various species. Whether you are taking a nature hike or see something while walking through the city, this app can offer knowledge instantly.  

How Does It Work? 

Currently powered by the audience who use it, the application collects data from social networks which upload pictures and information on various plant species. At present, there has been 4,100 wild flora identified by the French territory. As the app expands and global users participate, the number of plant species identified will also grow as contributions increase.  

You can think of the app as a plant version of the music identifier, Shazam. After snapping a picture of the plant, the image goes through the botanical database and the app identifies the plant for you. Plants that are currently not included are edibles. The company hopes to eventually add this to the app, considering the positive outcome it would have. Everyone has been told to eat their vegetables and it is well known that the nutritional value of plants in the wild is much greater than those at the store.  

Impact (ONLY use the 'Paste From Word' button to safely copy and paste text from a Word doc) 

There is currently an estimated 400,000 plant species across the globe. With an app like this, people would gain knowledge about the environment around them. Additionally, it can be used for more than just general curiosity. Being able to identify plants would help people safely identify poisonous species and provide knowledge on intrusive plants. Just imagine Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors with this app on his side – sure Audrey II would still be trying to eat him, but he would boast the legacy of leaving information to save the rest of the world from a similar fate.

Public Release Year: 
2016
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