I had heard about the app, PictureThis, about a year ago as a tool for plant identification. In June I finally downloaded and tried it out. A friend had shown me the app on her phone and I was ready to pay the $19.99/year annual fee given how it performed out in the field.
This app works on both IOS and Android platform. It averages a 4.5 review rating out of 5. The biggest complaint appears to be that PictureThis doesn’t make it clear how the free trial is difficult to keep you from subscribing. There are over 30 million users at the time of this review. You can improve the app by sending in pictures and correcting the response of the app.
While it is not fool proof, the app notes it has identified over 27 million plants with a 99% accuracy. Certainly the primary audience for this app is backyard gardeners and people interested in ornamental plants. But it actually does a pretty good job with native plants and trees from my testing. I have used it on my land to identify various forbs. It does okay with grasses as long as there is a seed head. It will at least get you close in the family of the grass. It lets you know if it is a perennial or not and season of growth as well as genus, family, order, class, and phylum. It also gives you a little warning if it sees a brown spot on the leaf with information about what might be causing it or other concerns about disease and pests.
I also liked that you could “collect” the plant by taking a picture even if you don’t have cell coverage. Once you are back in cell coverage you can go back and identify the plant and add it to your “garden” if you want to. I use the garden feature to keep all the plants I’ve identified in my area so I can run back through them and get better at remembering which one is which.
The app also gives you a couple of choices when it identifies the plant so you can override the first choice if you have clarity it is really one of the other choices or you have an alternate to suggest. I’ve been surprised by the accuracy of the app and think it is well worth the annual fee. The app interface is user-friendly and intuitive.
If you or a family member is in charge of monitoring for your farm or ranch is a budding botanist, I highly recommend PictureThis as a plant identification app.
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