If you’d like to learn more about the wild plants growing in your neck of the woods and you don’t want to carry a pocket guide with you, well, you guessed it: there’s an app for that! Here we present just a few options for apps that can help you become a better forager. When selecting an app, know your needs and be sure you can use the app even without a wifi connection–otherwise, take that paperback pocket guide with you!
Check your favorite App store for availability of these and other naturalist apps.
Wild Edibles Lite
The lite version features 20 plants and the full version features more than 200 plants–which is more than any other app. For each plant there are multiple pictures and up to 14 categories: General Info, Habitat, Seasons, How to Spot, Positive Identification, Similar Plants, Similar Plants Explained, Cautions, Harvesting, Food Uses, Nutrition, Recipes, Medicinal Uses, and Poisonous Lookalikes. The inclusion of recipes for each plant makes this app truly unique compared to others (most, if not all, the recipes are vegan). Wild Edibles, developed by WinterRoot LLc and naturalist Steve Brill, features only plants that grow in temperate climates. The plant selection also focuses on ease of identifying, harvesting, and preparing. If you’re serious about foraging for wild edibles, consider getting the full version, which additionally features plant lookalikes, related plants, and poisonous plants.
As the name suggests, the iNaturalist app focuses on wild plant identification. Snap photos to aid in tree and wildflower identification, and log your findings with your location and notes. You can also share your observations with a community of other plant and outdoor enthusiasts, making it fun to read and share about unique plants around the world. This free plant identifier is great if you’re looking to casually explore and deepen your appreciation of the natural plant life around you.
This free plant identifier app allows you to snap a photo (or upload photos from your camera roll) and find the plant’s name and species. PlantSnap will let you know whether the plant is endangered or rare, and also suggests basic care tips for your garden and house plants. You can use the “explore” feature to view snaps from other users around the world, including places like Ecuador, Algeria, and Turkey.
Edible and Medicinal Plants App
This app covers 110 plants and each plant has up to 5 categories of information: Description, Habitat and Distribution, Edible Parts, Other Uses, and Cautions, as well as one or two photos per plant. The plant selection is broad and diverse, but it’s not as easy to discern which plants grow in which zones. There are literally plants from the arctic to the tropics and from mountains to swamps. The Edible and Medicinal Plants app would be ideal for a traveler who is likely to find themselves meandering along less well-traveled roads and who already has extensive survival knowledge. You can find a good amount of useful information from this app, but it would probably take some time sifting through all the plants and cross referencing online to see what grows in your area.