Much like Shazam helps you identify music simply by recoding a small selection, Pl@ntNet lets you identify flowers and plants by simply snapping a photo. Powered by a large database and a network of contributors, you can currently identify up to 6000 different species.
Sure, there are plenty of apps out there to help you identify flora and fauna. But most of these operate by forcing you to do all the hard work of matching what you see to the picture displayed on your phone. This is not always easy. Or accurate.
With the Pl@ntNet app, you simply take pictures of wild plant organs (flower, fruit, leaf, bark) and then hit search. Your pictures are compared to a variety of powerful botanical image databases on the backend. The species with the most visual similarities are then returned with illustrations.
You can choose to share your observations to be validated by the community and used to enlarge the knowledge database. The Agropolis Fondation in France started the Pl@ntNet project as a way to make use of their huge, underexploited reservoirs of data on plants in order to improve things such as agriculture and to conserve biodiversity. The foundation also wants to promote citizen science as a powerful means to enrich these databases with information on plant location, phenology, ecology or even uses.
While the plant database is heavily skewed towards European plants at the moment, I have been able to identify some very popular plants like sequoias in California.