PlantNet is an application for the collection, annotation and retrieval of images to aid in the identification of plants
Source: Android description (translated)
Language: Spanish / German / French / English / Italian / Portuguese
Runs offline: no
Last update: Android 19/01/2017 (v 2.1.0) – iOS 03/02/2016 (v. 1.0.8)
Notes: article updated on 04/02/2017
Called in some articles as “the Shazam of the plants” (Shazam is a popular application for identifying songs), PlantNet is an ambitious French project that enables the recognition of wild plants (does not work properly with ornamental or indoor plants), comparing the species of interest with the thousands of photographs included in the different databases (currently has records for Western Europe, Indian Ocean, South America and North Africa).
The application is operational without a user account, but if you want the help of the community and experts who are behind this tool to identify species, you need to create a profile.
The application displays the following options:
- Selection of the project or database in relation to which execute the query (as discussed above, the databases are differentiated by geographical area).
- “News”, which shows the latest records uploaded to different databases.
- “Explorer”, section that enables you to navigate through the different species. Each one has a data sheet with different images of flowers, fruits, leaves, bark and shape, as well as a link to the description in Wikipedia.
- “My observations”, part that enables you to access images you have tried to identify.
- “My profile”, option to set your profile as long as you have previously opened a user account.
- “Log in”, section to log in as a registered user.
The identification itself can be started from the previous sections by clicking on the red icon in the lower right corner. The application will ask you to upload an image in relation to which shows a list of possible matches. For this analysis it has been used a mature image of a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).
Images: Screenshots 15/08/2016. © PlantNet
The identification of species, as the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid publishes in its website, is not “an end in itself”, but it opens the door to the award of a name which leads to another series of aspects such as knowing their possible use (medicinal, fodder, etc.) or their protection status.
This application enables to resolve queries about identification of plants, but only on wild species, which can generate doubts about naturalized or ornamental species (for this analysis, it has tried to identify two leaves of gender Crassula and Rosa with null results, for example). One of its main problems is the need of internet connection for operation, which limits functionality in relation to other tools (for example, Arbolapp in the case of the Iberian Peninsula).
It should be mentioned that recently it has also launched a complementary application, Smart’flore, which at the moment is being tested in the area of Montpellier (France) and which through panels and QR codes, enables to explore botanical trails and recognize the different plants in situ.