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:
- PictureThis – Plant Identification – Android/Apple
- PlantSnap – Android/Apple
- Seek by iNaturalist – Android/Apple
- NatureID (This one identifies pet breeds, too. How fun is that?) – Android/Apple
- 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.