Friday, 22 July 2016

30 Days Wild day 27- Tree ID

Today I decided to continue my quest to improve my identification skills. This time, I thought I'd make the most of my smartphone and try out some of the many apps available for identifying trees. There are so many to choose from, and they are fantastic tools both to speed up identification and to begin to teach yourself. What's even better is that so many of them (and all the ones I tried) are free. 

The first one I tried out was Leafsnap. It's an incredibly clever idea; you take a photo of a leaf, upload it (you need an internet connection to do this) and the app suggests which trees the leaf could have come from! From the half an hour I spent playing, it seemed to work well. However, it did struggle some of the time, especially with the pinnate leaves of elder, mistaking them for an oak.

While it isn't always accurate and is internet dependent, it's an incredibly fun tool and one I'll definitely keep using!

Next, I downloaded the Woodland Trust British Trees app. It's basically an electronic version of an identification key, narrowing down the number of possible trees as you go through a series of questions. I particularly like the way it can use flowers, fruit, bark, twigs and buds, as well as leaves, for identification. It means that you can still use it if the tree isn't in leaf, and you can more easily differentiate trees with superficially similar leaves. Also, doesn't require an internet connection, so you can use it no matter how far from internet you are!

I found this a really useful and functional app- definitely one I'll be using in the future! That being said, I enjoyed leafsnap too, and it includes a few ornamental species, so I think I'll be keeping them both! If you've tried one of these, or any other good ID apps, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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