Whether you’re a novice backyard gardener, curious hiker or cautious forager, chances are you’ve encountered a plant and had absolutely no idea what it was, how to take care of it, or if you can eat it. A new smartphone app called Pl@ntNet gives users the ability to snap a picture of unknown flora and upload it to a crowdsourced database of over 100,000 images that provides suggestions as to what the plant may be.
The Pl@ntNet app developed by a French company named Irina has been in development for several years. Not only are users able to conduct image searches for unidentified flora, they’re also asked to contribute photos and plant information to the database, and vote on the quality of photos and information uploaded by others so as to keep the app useful and reliable.
Unfortunately for now, the dataset of 100,000 images and 4,000 species is largely useful to those in France, or those encountering plants that grow in France. But with a crowdsouced, geotagged database accessible to people anywhere in the world, it’s not hard to imagine this project will flourish to become of more global utility soon.