Available for download on iOS and Android devices, the Oregon Wildflowers app provides multimedia and information on nearly 1,000 wildflowers, shrubs and vines common in Oregon and adjacent areas in Idaho, Washington and California. For each plant, the app offers photographs, natural history, range maps and more. It works without an Internet connection once downloaded.
When you open the app, there’s a variety of features to select for the particular wildflower you want to identify, such as color, number of petals, the type of habitat where you saw it, and the region of Oregon. Once selected, the app will give you a list of possibilities, and one can narrow it down from there. Click on a particular listing and you can view more photos and read a description of the plant.
While at my work last weekend, I snapped some photos of flowers in our native plant garden to test out with the app. I am not very knowledgeable about wildflowers, so this will be a great way to get familiar with flowers that bloom around the Portland area.
This wildflower was pretty easy to narrow down as a Lupine, but I’m not able to determine which species exactly; most likely Lupinus latifolius, L. lepidus, or L. polyphyllus.
So far, I like this app. Four out of five is pretty good, especially considering that sometimes even physical paper-bound field guides (yes, books!) can leave you wanting for an identification. Whereas I’ll use it for trying to learn the names of various flowers I see when out in natural areas with my kids, all sorts of people will find this app useful, from botany students and environmental educators to gardeners and professional botanists. A lot of folks will see the $7.99 price for the app and consider it too steep, but they should remember that this is a very specific app with loads of information put together by a group of dedicated naturalists right here in Oregon.