Mike's NBC-TV stories

Apps to ID Plants and Trees

It’s the time of year when plants, trees and other foliage is popping out of the ground just about everywhere.

But it isn’t always clear exactly what that greenery is.

Fortunately, a number of apps are available to help you with plant identification.

Garden Answers helps identify more than 20,000 plants with detailed information. Take a picture of the plant, tap the ‘submit’ button and answers are instantly provided about what’s growing. Garden Answers also provides details about plant diseases and insect infestations with more than 200,000 commonly asked plant questions. The app is free and for iOS and Android.

Plantifier uses social media to help identify plants. Take a photo, hit the ‘submit’ button and members of the MyGarden.org community will respond with an answer. In case you’re wondering, MyGarden.org bills itself as the social network for garden lovers so chances are users will be able to get fast and accurate answers. Free for iOS and Android.

By the way, if you’re curious about trees, consider Leafsnap – a so-called electronic field guide developed by university researchers and the Smithsonian Institution. The app uses visual recognition software to identify tree species from photos of their leaves. The app also contains high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, and bark to aid identification – all created by the conservation group called Finding Species. The app is free for iOS.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.