Leafsnap is a new iPhone app that helps you identify plants via their leaf. The app works in the same way as Shazam and Meal Snap. You take a picture of a leaf and it tells you the type of plant it came from. Using this app is pretty simple, although you have to break the leaf off and place it on a white background to take the picture. Leafsnap then uploads the picture and returns with the list of matching plants.
Developed by a group of researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution, the free Leafsnap app only has trees from Northeast but is planning to grow its database to cover all of the United States. We did a couple of tests, and were unable to get matching results, so I’m not sure how to rate the snapping functionality of the app but the idea is great. The app keeps a collection of your snapped leaves and geo-tags them for your reference.
There is a also a browse feature that lets you view leaves by name. The plants have a list of photos not just for their leaf, but also cones, flowers, bark, petiole, and fruits. This section can be a great way to learn about new plants. You can view plants by common name or scientific name.
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