Mobile app identifies hundreds of weeds

Thursday, December 20, 2012 | 5:44 p.m. CST

 COLUMBIA — Although weeds are buried under a fresh layer of snow, MU Extension has developed a mobile app that can help users identify weeds when they inevitably start to grow again.

Kevin Bradley, an associate professor of MU's Division of Plant Sciences, released the app Wednesday at the MU Crop Management Conference.

Despite the fact that it's not growing season, people have shown interest.

“We announced it and immediately everybody started pulling out their phones and downloading it,” Bradley said. “So that was a good sign, I guess.”

The app identifies about 400 types of weeds, according to MU's Division of Plant Sciences website. And Bradley created the app with farmers in mind, but any weed aficionado might find it useful.

ID Weeds, the name of the app, asks a series of questions that lead to the identification of a weed. One question asks the user to identify the habitat of the weed by using a drop-down menu that provides a variety of answers. Once all the questions have been answered, the app should reveal the weed's name.

When connected to the Internet, the app can access a database of about 3,000 pictures that illustrate different aspects of the plants.

James Meng, who assisted Bradley in developing the app, said that an updated and improved 2.0 version is already available.

The ID Weeds app is free and available in iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android versions.

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.

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