Ever wondered what the name of a particular plant that you came across was, where it originally came from, or what it favors in terms of light, soil and temperature?
PictureThis is a mobile application for Google Android and Apple iOS devices that aims to provide you with the information. It works similarly to other apps used for identification purposes such as Google Lens, but focuses solely on plants.
Note: The app gives free users a limited number of identifications only; these can be increased but are still very limited. Additionally, the close icon of the “get Premium” fullscreen prompt is barely visible. There is an x-icon in the upper right corner that you need to click on to proceed without starting a trial or subscribing outright.
All you do after installing the app is to point the camera of the mobile device at the plant, e.g. a flower, and take a picture of it. The app analyzes the picture and displays the result with the highest identification percentage on the screen.
The developers of the application note that their application is capable of identifying more than 10,000 different plants with an accuracy of 98%.
A quick unscientific test with half a dozen plants resulted in three correct identifications, one partial correct identification, and two identification that failed completely. Options to change the result are provided, but it works only if you know the name of the plant. Usually, that is not the case since you are using the app to identify the plant.
An option to report a misidentification to the developers is not available.
Identified plants are displayed with information on the results screen. You see the photo that you have taken and images of the same plant. The page may list the species, alternative names, questions and answers, a description, tips from garden coaches, facts, characteristics, pest and disease information, care guides, and more.
Each identified plant is added to the library from where it can be accessed again.
The makers of the application make money from Premium subscriptions. Premium members have no restrictions on the number of plants that they may identify. The premium version supports identifying weeds automatically, and members may also get exclusive plant care guides and access to a team of botanists that help solve “garden problems” that may arise.
A one year subscription is available for €19.99.
The free version of the app is severely limited. It is fine for testing the application but it is unsuitable for anything but. The interface makes it hard for free users to avoid becoming a subscriber. The Premium offer screen has a barely visible close icon, and there does not appear to be information on the number of remaining free identifications either.
People with gardens and people interested in plants are the main target for getting a premium subscription. I could not test the botanical team or access the advanced guides because these are not available in the free version. You can sign-up for a 7-day trial to test the functionality, but need to cancel manually before the seven day period ends to avoid being charged if you are not satisfied with the results.
All in all, this is not an application that free users will be happy with over a longer period of time due to the limited number of identifications. Paying customers get all the features, and that is fine, but the limitations make it nearly impossible to test the app sufficiently before subscribing (which you also do when you start the trial).
An option to see a professional guide in all its glory, and maybe one or two answers from the botanical team could do wonders in this regard.
Now You: Do you use apps to identify things in the world?