Your wildflower search engine.
June 5, 2013 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Search for wildflowers by location, color, flower shape, flower size and time of blooming. 3,126 plants indexed. This web site helps those of us with limited knowledge of botany to identify flowering plants that are found outside of gardens. This help is provided by presenting you with small images of plants. You can use a number of search techniques to get to the images that are most likely the plant you are looking for. When you click on a plant image the program shows you links to plant descriptions and more plant images. The site has about 5 ways of searching for a plant. You can use these searches in any combination. Some searches eliminate some plants from consideration. Most searches give a "score" to each plant depending on how well the plant matches the search criteria. The plants with the highest score are displayed at the top of the results. Click here for Instructions.

The display is divided into 3 regions. On the left, under Search Menus, are buttons that let you set the search criteria. The operation of these buttons are described below. On the right is a display showing the search criteria. In the middle is a window where the Search Results are displayed. Many images of plants can be displayed at one time. Below each image is a common name, a score and the scientific name. Click on any thumbnail image to obtain links to more information about that plant.

About the site, including additional instructions.
posted by Blasdelb (21 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
Very cool! Thanks!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:15 AM on June 5, 2013

I decided to try it by going outside and picking a random wildflower and running it through the site. It came up with the woodland forget-me-not, which looks right so far as I can tell.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:18 AM on June 5, 2013

This is awesome.
posted by pemberkins at 11:22 AM on June 5, 2013

Only for West of the Rockies?

still cool though.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:28 AM on June 5, 2013

This looks sweet. I wonder if there's any effective way to use it to figure out when the best time to visit some wildflower spots are.
posted by klangklangston at 11:29 AM on June 5, 2013

Hopefully there will eventually be a smartphone app that accurately identifies leaves and flowers from a photo. There are some early attempts, but they don't work yet in my experience.
posted by diogenes at 11:47 AM on June 5, 2013

Funny, I was just staring at a bunch of oaks yesterday, thinking, "There needs to be an iPhone app where you can take a picture of a plant/leaf/flower and it will tell you what it is."

On preview, what diogenes said.
posted by seemoreglass at 11:47 AM on June 5, 2013

We appear to have killed the server. :( Still, bookmarked for later.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:07 PM on June 5, 2013

Looks to be hosted on Google App Engine, which has a very limited free usage tier and then gets alarmingly expensive if you let it.
posted by Nelson at 12:09 PM on June 5, 2013

This looks sweet. I wonder if there's any effective way to use it to figure out when the best time to visit some wildflower spots are.

The Theodore Payne Foundation does a wildflower report for Southern California. Their season just ended, though. (Wildflower blooming seasons are so sensitive to weather fluctuations that it's surprisingly hard to provide general information about the flowers in any given location. Reports from the field are most accurate, and would be sort of a nightmare to keep updated in a database like this.)
posted by purpleclover at 12:33 PM on June 5, 2013

I guess we must have hugged it to death, generally things are back pretty quickly when we do this, its not like we're reddit or anything
posted by Blasdelb at 1:04 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yep, we crushed it like a, like a, oh, what's something fragile and beautiful? We crushed it like a ... I don't know ... like a potato chip.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:16 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Crushed it like an endangered Tiburon jewelflower?
posted by purpleclover at 1:24 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

We crashed it like an overgrowth of mistletoe snapping off an oak branch-- since we are rather parasitic upon other sites, after all.
posted by jamjam at 2:13 PM on June 5, 2013

Well, fuck it, then, I'm going to go outside and look at some flowers.
posted by box at 2:42 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I hope we crushed it like a jewelweed seedpod because those things are awesome AND it's beneficial to the plant.
posted by maryr at 3:15 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Flower nerd high five.
posted by purpleclover at 5:39 PM on June 5, 2013

Its back!
posted by Blasdelb at 12:58 AM on June 6, 2013

This is splendid! Thanks!
posted by PlantGoddess at 4:37 AM on June 6, 2013

sigh, nothing east of the Rockies.
posted by theora55 at 11:49 AM on June 6, 2013

If anyone is desperate for a wildflower guide for northeastern/north-central USA, this is my favorite one. (It's a book and not a search engine, but it's something!)
posted by pemberkins at 3:19 PM on June 6, 2013

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