By Alexandra Schafers
If you’ve seen beautiful flowers during hikes and wished there were a Shazam-like app to name the flower, you may be in luck. The Oregon Flora Project and High Country Apps have developed a new application, Oregon Wildflowers, which makes identification simple for both amateurs and professionals. It currently contains 947 of the most common wildflowers, shrubs, and vines from all over the state. Stephen Meyers, taxonomic director of Oregon Flora, says this new goodie will be updated with new entries until all 3,000-plus native and established non-native species around the region are included.
The interface is easy to navigate and allows the user to identify plants with inputs like petal color, bloom time, leaf shape, and region, bringing up high quality photos of the species and providing a range map and natural history section for each. An Internet connection isn’t necessary for access, so it can be used “no matter how remote your wanderings may take you,” said Linda Hardison, project director of Oregon Flora.
The Oregon Flora Project, located in the Botany and Plant Pathology Department at OSU, developed the app in part to further their mission of bringing plant knowledge to more people. Meyers said it was tested extensively by both seasoned pros and complete novices, and beginners were able to learn the process after identifying several plants.
Oregon Wildflowers is available for $7.99 through Amazon, Apple, and Google app stores for iOS and Android. Part of the revenue will support conservation and botanical exploration, and the 2015 publication of an updated Flora of Oregon (the current version is from the 1950s.) Wildflower enthusiasts can find more photos, plant species and information on the Oregon Flora Project’s website: http://www.oregonflora.org.