App Alert: Leafsnap

14 Jun

I recently read about a new app available for the iPhone & iPad, called Leafsnap. Launched in May, it identifies trees by scanning pictures of leaves from the Smithsonian Institute’s leaf image library. The free app has already been downloaded over 150,000 times! The library is continually growing, and within the next 18 months all the trees in the US will be covered.

We have a bunch of different trees around our home, and I’ve been wondering what they all are. So, I immediately downloaded the app, and when there was a break in the rain Saturday, I grabbed a few leaves to give it a try. With the help of Leafsnap, I was able to identify three trees. I would have gotten more, but it was pretty wet out.

All you do is grab a leaf from the tree in question, put it against a white background, and take a picture with your camera phone. Using software similar to facial recognition software, Leafsnap analyzes the shape, and gives you a list of what the tree may be. From this list you can view additional pictures of the suggested tree species and narrow it down to what the tree is based on leaf details, flowers, bark, etc…

Here’s a screen capture of my collection thus far, and some pics I took of our newly identified trees:

Yoshino Cherry (prunus yedoensis)

Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

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