Accidentally touching poison oak or poison ivy was a popular story line used by sitcoms two decades ago. It might have been funny but it also made it obvious that some plants can be dangerous for you. Plants are basically awesome until they try to kill you or your pet but a dangerous plant is rarely something we know about until it’s too late. PlantNet is an iOS and Android app that lets you identify any plant with just a photo. It’s a great way to not just make sure plants in your home are safe for you, your kids, and your pets but also a good way to learn about the flora in your community.
Install Plantnet and take a photo of a plant. During tests, we found that the app can detect a leaf from a photo of a tree but this will of course be subject to the quality of the camera on your device.
Select a photo and tell the app whether you want to identify the plant in question by its leaf, flower, bark, or fruit. You can always change the identification mode later if the app has trouble identifying the plant. Select the photo and then tap the search button.
You will get a list of results that the app thought matched the plant in your photo. Tap the result that matches your plant and you can explore photos of its leaf, flower, and fruit as well as photos of it in its natural habitat.
If the plant is dangerous, the information card will tell you as much. You can save the result as an observation and you can share it. If you have several photos of a single plant, you can add them to a single observation and the app will use all of them to identify the plant.
PlantNet isn’t always going to find the plant you’ve photographed but that often has to do with the photo. We found it was unable to identify a common rose plant because the photo quality was poor and that’s to be expected. Give the app a good clear photo and it will find the plant.