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Best Science Apps

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October 01, 2017 (Vol. 37, No. 17)

Garden Answers Plant Identification

  • Good photo-recognition capabilities, fast search results
  • No complete index of included species
Platform: iPad/iPhone/Android  
Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

One need not be a gardener to take advantage of the plant identification features of this app. (Indeed, what better way to identify plants you encounter on your walk to and from the lab?) To identify a plant in your environment, you need only take a photo of it with your mobile device (or select from among the photos in your camera roll). A list of possible matches is returned, complete with photos. For a specific species, users can browse the collection of past photos from other users that were deemed a match. Users can also opt to turn on location services in the app, which can further help to identify plants based on their known geographic ranges. Beyond the photo-upload feature, users can search for species by name, and they can also submit questions to the in-app horticulturist by providing a verified email address.

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