Saturday, December 9, 2023


Edible or lethal? These 5 apps identify the plants around you

By Gail Marsh
Did you hear about the retired guy who was greeted one morning in his garden by heavily armed DEA agents accompanied by canine assistance? Local authorities suspected the guy of growing cannabis. It turned out to be okra!

Or perhaps you read about the woman who narrowly escaped death? She brewed what she thought were comfrey leaves. Turned out the leaves she brewed looked similar but were foxglove leaves instead. Hours after consuming the “tea” this unfortunate gal was rushed to the hospital with heart palpitations, vomiting and dizziness. Doctors finally diagnosed the problem and administered an antidote. After five days of hospitalization, the woman’s heart rhythm returned to normal and she was able to return home.

Then there was the sad news story about the death of a French bulldog. The dog ingested leaves from a Sago palm plant. The dog’s owner purchased the new plant, unaware that the leaves of a Sago palm are poisonous to dogs. The family is heartbroken.

Plant identification is important. As RVers, we may travel far from home and often see unfamiliar plants and trees. It’s important to know about the “new-to-us vegetation” to keep ourselves, our pets and our loved ones safe. Did you know there’s an app for that? Actually, there are several different phone apps that can help you identify plants. Many of these apps are free. You take a picture of the plant you want to identify, and the app does the rest.

Here are the top plant-identifying apps:

  1. PictureThis – Plant Identification – Android/Apple
  2. PlantSnap – Android/Apple
  3. Seek by iNaturalist – Android/Apple
  4. NatureID (This one identifies pet breeds, too. How fun is that?) – Android/Apple
  5. PlantIn (This one identifies plant diseases, too, so you can save your leafy friends.) – Android/Apple

There are many more apps to identify plants, and it may take downloading a few before you know which one you like best. Be sure to take note of the user reviews, too. Once you’ve installed your app you are ready to take on Mother Nature!

Knowing the plants and trees in the places you visit will help keep you safe, but there are additional benefits as well. Recognizing trees and various plants can help you feel more at home, no matter how far from home you roam. It can also give you a greater appreciation for our amazingly diverse planet. Identifying plants can spark your curiosity and inspire you to learn even more about the care and conservation of this place we all call “home” – Earth.

Invasive plants and animals – they’re everywhere!


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.



0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Brian (@guest_116526)
2 years ago

Watch out for this so called FREE apps. Most are not and give you a week for free then start to charge you. “Picture This” is a prime example of the scam….

Snayte (@guest_116253)
2 years ago

I have had good luck using the google lens app as well.

TomS (@guest_116154)
2 years ago

The android app plantin is a food and drink app

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  TomS

Hi, TomS. I just Googled “PlantIn app for Android” and this is one of the links that came up: I did check on the Terms of Service at the bottom of the page and it mentions it’s a subscription service, even though on the page that the link in the article goes to it says it’s “completely free”. I didn’t see the “food and drink app” for “the android app plantin” that you referred to. But thanks for calling this to our attention. Take care. 🙂 —Diane at

Keira B (@guest_116138)
2 years ago

Lovely article! Thank you for helping me enjoy the world around me.

Kate Sparling (@guest_116113)
2 years ago

If you check out these apps, scroll down to see what information will be collected about you and your use of the app. If you don’t like to be followed and data collected about you, check carefully.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.