How do plant identification apps work?

plant identification apps

Plant identification apps rely on images of plants to determine their species. Using the app, you can take a photo of a plant with your smartphone’s camera or upload an image from your gallery. The app uses recognition software to identify the plant in question. Factors such as leaf structure, pattern, and size, as well as flowers and bark (if present), are taken into consideration. These items are checked against the app’s database of plant photos, allowing for comparison and identification.

This process often involves the use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is capable of acquiring new insights, making connections between data sets, and providing more detailed results. These apps often provide the official Latin name of the plants, as well as their common names.

Beyond the names, these apps also offer users additional information about a particular plant, such as its lifespan, average height, and country or continent of origin. If you’re looking to establish a proper watering routine for your indoor or garden plants, many of these apps offer plant care tips, as well as watering schedules and reminders.

Are these apps accurate?

Despite their advantages, plant identification apps are not perfect. These tools can provide inaccurate results, which can be frustrating and misleading for the user. For example, in April 2023, New Scientist reported that some plant identification apps have an accuracy rate of only 4%. This means that out of 50 plants entered into an identifying application, only two would be correctly identified.

Problems derived from inaccuracy

Inaccurate identification can lead to various problems, such as watering plants too often or too little, misidentifying toxic plants as safe to eat, or placing plants in areas with too much or too little light.

Causes of inaccuracies

It is important to note that most identification software has some margin of error. This is because there is always a chance that something interferes with the identification process. For example, a blurry photo or a complicated background can confuse recognition software. However, it is not always the fault of the user. Bugs in the application code or a limited plant database can also affect the success rate.

Tips for more accurate results

To avoid inaccurate results, it is essential to go for a reputable plant identification app. Make sure the photos you upload to the app are well taken. Avoid messy backgrounds, low lighting, and image blur. It can also be useful to use two or more apps to identify a plant, allowing you to compare results and spot inaccuracies.

Although plant identification apps offer a useful and convenient tool, it is essential to approach your results with skepticism and consider other methods and tips for accurate identification.

Best Plant ID Apps for Your Phone

There are times when it is difficult to recognize a plant, but as we train the artificial intelligence systems, this identification becomes easier. Today we will talk about some android apps that make work easier:

The best mobile apps to identify plants

  • Google Lens : this is a very complete application, among its options it allows us to know the name of a plant if we take a photo of it. It will immediately send us to an Internet link with the name of the plant and various photos.
  • PlantNet app : It is another good application, when taking a photo of the plant, it will not only give us the name but also show us other plants that have similar characteristics to the one in the photo. Another advantage is that it does not have ads and it also gives us the option of adding more than one photo.
  • Garden Answers : This one has a lot of information saved, which is good. It is very fast when giving us a name, in the same way, just by taking a photo we will obtain the data we want.
  • Arbolapp : this application allows you to select leaves, according to their shape, it has saved information that is used when you want to identify a tree. It is one more among the list of the best to choose.
  • Green Fingers : Unlike the other apps, this one not only has the recognition of plants through a photo, it also provides a reminder when it is necessary to water the plant, control its temperature, etc.
  • Picture This : works the same as the other applications, only with a photo we will obtain the desired information. It has a large amount of data for its users and is developed quickly and accurately.

With the passage of time, technology has been advancing according to the needs of the users who use them. Currently, they are not only essential when communicating, but they have also become of great importance in our work.

More information at New Scientist.

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