I was asked to review an app called myGardenAnswers from Team SOA, Inc. based in San Diego. It is available on both Android and iOS devices. On their website, they call it the “shazam for plants.” It allows you to photograph a plant with your smartphone and then it compares that photograph with other stored photographs in its library and comes up with the correct identity of that plant via this comparison.
The first thing I noticed was the color scheme which looked very natural and soothing just like a garden is. It has large icons with pleasant graphics and easy to read fonts. It also looked appealing and fun. It was very easy to use but was not that accurate. Although I thought I took excellent pictures, it still couldn’t figure out exactly what plant or flower I had photographed. It took several guesses.
If the accuracy improves, this app could easily be useful on a field trip where students are asked to identify plants that they encounter. Could be used in an assignment where students are asked to find different types of plants and photograph them. To be sure they took photographs of the right types of plants, they could check with this app.
I should rephrase my concern about inaccuracy. The app actually did find a number of matches for each photograph I took. I’m sure one of the matches is probably accurate. The problem with the app is that it couldn’t hone the selection down to the correct one. I took photographs of very common plants including my African violet and a geranium. The correct matches were within the group that the app chose. The problem is the app also chose at least five more plants as matches. The second thing that I didn’t care for in this app was that it has an option to contact horticulturist with a specific question. This is on the main menu and yet it is not free. It is actually a priced feature. I did not test it since I did not want to spend the money.
I would not recommend this app for educational purposes. However, I would recommend this app for entertainment purposes. It also has a feature that identifies diseases on plants. This might be very helpful for someone who is trying to cure sick plants.