These days, we heavily rely on the feedback and the experience other people get from the products they buy and use, places they go to, restaurants they order from, and services they avail of. We heavily rely on the referral of our peers on things we are eyeing to get or avail because it is only normal to do so; for reasons like it saves us money not to but untested products, or avail services form people or companies no one vouched for. Money is hard to earn especially these days that we want to maximize our purchasing capability by getting only the quality and legitimate purchases and services. This goes the same with the apps we use also on our mobile phones and other gadgets. With so many apps offering the same service and features, we tend to be strategic in downloading them mostly because we want to maximize one of the biggest items in our arsenal—our phone memory. We only want the best apps to be present on our gadgets and the ones that offer the most information because aside from saving the space of our gadgets, we also want to save time in searching for the information we want in several platforms.
And now, since the plant craze and plant hobby plan to stay and not going away anytime soon, the plant identification apps are now sprouting like crazy too. Offering the best plant identification feature, the most accurate results, plant care etc. And as a terrarium enthusiast myself, I confess to using these apps too to help me identify the plants I encounter to give me the best advantage in rearing them.
I have compiled the reviews for the 5 apps I have encountered and constantly use so far. Please know that this is based on the sample pictures I uploaded for identification to the app. And for the purpose of this review, I used only 1 picture for all apps to ensure that the result is consistent with the source being identified.
NatureID has an overall score of 4.7 (based on the user reviews on iPhone’s App Store). I have used NatureID several times before for plants species which picture, I took real-time. However, uploading pictures of plants you forwarded to you, or you have gotten somewhere might be a problem. With NatureID, there is a file size that is required for you to upload your picture. I tried several times uploading the sample picture, but I got an error that the photo is too small for identification, making it impossible for me to move forward. So, I tried uploading a different plant species picture for me to see the information offered once the result comes out. This is therefore I rated it 2.0 for user-experience because of the capability of the app to accept the file size which was not required by the rest of the apps included on the list.
PlantNet has an overall score of 4.7 (based on the user reviews on iPhone’s App Store). Same with other apps, you will be requested to upload the pic for identification as well. The unique feature of this app however is you will be requested to choose which plant organ or part are you having the pic identified for. However, after choosing the plant part and confirming the result, you will be directed to the confirmed results with only the scientific name, and nothing follows. The next step that you must do would be to click the species name for you to be directed to the information category. The information category page is extensive with all the possible online pictures of the plant itself (depending on the plant part you are choosing). However, on face value, you will not see these information as you must navigate through the name, which I don’t think is very user-friendly since if you are not very familiar with the app, you will settle only with looking at the scientific name and that’s it. There’s no instruction either that you need to click on the species name for you to be directed to the information about it.
Blossom has an overall score of 4.7 (based on the user reviews on iPhone’s App Store). Upon opening the app and using the upload section, the cute little flower-shaped frame will be where you will fit the picture or the plant you will be taking picture of. On the results section, you will be directed to the information categories directly which is very comprehensive and extensive as well. There is also an added section for similar plant species with the same needs as the plant identified. This is a very good addition especially to the people looking for similar plants they can use especially for those creating terrariums and other enclosures. However, Blossom by The Spruce only has a limited number of free identification uploads then you will be required to go premium.
There go the 5 highly recommended plant id apps for you. Of course, there are still more apps available online for you to explore from. I have downloaded a total of 10 apps, and I opted to only upload the reviews for the abovementioned for reasons that other apps require immediate membership or premium subscriptions (which most of us will not go for). Ultimately, my recommendation would be to go for the ones that offer free usage, the one that provides near accurate and accurate results—because not all plants can be identified 100% at the time due to the similarities in their physical traits as well as the angle when the picture was taken. What is very good with most apps however is that they also provide suggestions for similar plant species which is of great help for you to get to the right plant species you are looking for.
In conclusion, if the app provides you with the information, you are looking for, you are most comfortable using, and you trust the results recommended; then it must be something you can opt to trust with helping you provide the information you need for your journey in plant-rearing. After all, these plant babies are worth more than a penny and it would be best to take care of them the best way we can. And we have these apps to help us with that. Or else, the most basic tenet of using them in the first place will be defeated—which is to provide the most or near-accurate information that is.