Connect with us


LeafSnap iPhone App Can Identify Trees by Their Leaves



LeafSnap, a new iPhone application developed by facial recognition experts at Columbia University and the University of Maryland, is able to determine a species of tree by analyzing a photograph of a leaf.


Once installed, simply use the iPhone’s camera and take a picture of a leaf on a piece of white paper, and let the app work its magic. the application will separate the leaf from the white paper, analyze the leaf’s measurements using its outline, and then compare those findings to a database of leaves donated by the Smithsonian and ‘Finding Species.’

Even if the application is unable to find the leaf, it will bring up a list of possible matches and from there, you will have access to a ton of information that should make finding a match simple.

Unfortunately, the application isn’t compatible with trees worldwide just yet. In fact, the application is limited to trees that grow in New York City and Washington DC. There are plans to include the rest of the United States, however, a global roll out is a bit iffy.

And if that didn’t narrow down the user base enough, it’s only available for the iPhone with iPad and Android applications on their way sometime this summer.

If you own an iPhone, you can find LeafSnap for free right here.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Lowe

    05/10/2011 at 5:08 pm

    I’ve downloaded it (it’s free) and I’m playing with it. You snap an
    image of a leaf on a white background, it uses the silhouette to give
    you back some possible results, which you can then click on to get
    further details – flower, fruit, bark (but not tree habit/ crown shape –
    hey, what up? that’s a key character!)

    I gathered leaves of a few tree species and some large tree-like
    shrubs. Results:

    Witch Hazel – 24 results, none right.

    – 24 results, none right.

    Wax myrtle ( a very large tree-like one)
    24 results, none right.

    Willow oak, 24 results,
    got it
    at the top of the list. Good job!

    Zelkova (Pick this is the one you’ve been calling Chinese elm but it’s
    not, it’s Zelkova sinica) – 24 results, gave me Japanese Zelkova among
    others, but not Z. sinica, close but no cigar

    Flowering dogwood – 24 results,
    got it
    on the 12th one

    of Yellow Buckeye – 24 results but all are simple leaves, so if you
    don’t know it’s a leaflet you are S.O.L.

    Whole leaf of Yellow Buckeye
    – nope, but got Aesculus hippocastamon at top of list, but gave me no
    other Aesculus choices

    Catalpa –
    got it!
    on the top of the list.

    Eastern Red Cedar –
    on the top of the list

    4 out of ten. I give it a D+.

    a neat idea, but doesn’t give the user/ student any opportunity to
    think and make choices, until they go through the list of 24 and look at
    details. And the technology – hm, got some, but missed a lot more.

    Nancy Lowe, Outreach Coordinator, Discover Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.