Being a Southern Californian, I typically miss out on the incredible springtime bloom of flowering trees in the East. But not this year. By some stroke of luck, I was in Boston early last week, and witnessed the most spectacular trees and foliage at their prime—lilac, magnolias, crabapples, dogwood, and many more.
I saw the most stunning foliage meandering through the Mount Auburn Cemetery, in Watertown, MA, adjacent to Cambridge. The 174-acre cemetery has lush and vibrant landscaping, boasting a collection of over 5,500 trees (including nearly 700 species and varieties!). As I walked around, I was inspired to become a walking, talking human database of all things plant life, and searched the app store on my iPhone for something impromptu that might be of aid. I found nothing particularly useful.
A week later, Leafsnap popped up.
Leafsnap is an app for iPhone that can identify any leaf you take a picture of (as long as the species is recorded in the app's extensive library, and is native to the Northeastern US). Developed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institute, the team is currently working on expanding the library to include trees of the entire continental United States.
The best part? It's free. Download now.
Know of any other amazing electronic field guides? Please list below. I'm an iphone-horticulturist-in-training, eager for more.