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Flora Finder

What is Flora Finder?

IMG_0836With Flora Finder you become an instant expert in identifying New Zealand native plants! Get it now for iPhone and iPad!

Flora Finder is an electronic field guide to help you identify some of the most common New Zealand native plants from photographs of their leaves.

Simply take a photograph of a native plant's leaf with your smart phone, and Flora Finder will:

  • Assist in identifying the plant for you
  • Provide you with a description of the plant
  • Provide you with beautiful images of parts of the plant
  • Pinpoint and map the location of where you've found your plant using the mapping feature
  • Add your photo to your own digital collection when you confirm your match

Travel the country or stay in one place, with Flora Finder it's like having the world's most famous plant experts in your pocket ready to go when you need them!

And if Flora Finder can’t identify the plant for you, no matter - just request an identification by taking a photograph of the plant, attach it to Flora Finder’s email feature and press send. Our team at the University of Otago Botany Department will receive your email and help identify the plant for you!

Flora Finder was created in 2013 by the Otago Innovation Limited (The University of Otago Technology Transfer Team) and the University of Otago Botany Department in partnership with MEA Mobile (top experts in making Apps), we're excited to share Flora Finder with you.

Where can I download Flora Finder?

Flora Finder is available to download on iTunes. The app is only available for Apple iPhone and iPad.

Visit the App Store for more information. 

How does Flora Finder work?

Flora Finder works by analysing an image captured on your iPhone, iPod or iPad camera. The app will analyse the general shape of your leaf, and ask you to select some general traits of the leaf to aid the identification of your plant.

If the application is unable to assist in identifying your image, you have the option of emailing the image to the University of Otago's Department of Botany for review.

A brief demonstration of how to use Flora Finder can be found on YouTube.

Who Developed Flora Finder

Flora Finder was developed by MEA Mobile, with the support of Dr. Janice Lord from the Department of Botany, and members of Otago Innovation, Ltd.

Dr Janice Lord

Janice is a senior lecturer in the University of Otago botany department.

Janice’s research interests extend to cold habitats such as the Sub-Antarctic islands, and alpine regions. Recently, Janice was invited to join the 2014 Young Blake Expeditions to the Sub-Antarctic.

The idea for Flora Finder was developed during Janice's time as a student conducting research at Arthurs Pass. Thinking of how great it would be to have a device that could assist in identifying the native New Zealand plants she was working with, it wasn't until late 2013 that the idea was realised as a product.

25 years later, Flora Finder was developed as a tool to help identify 87 of the most common New Zealand native trees and shrubs.

Otago Innovation

graham_strong_smOtago Innovation Limited helps University of Otago Researchers get their big ideas out there. They do this by helping them find a way to transfer their technology from the University to the broader world.

Otago Innovation's primary function is to facilitate the development of commercial applications via collaborations between University and industry researchers, student entrepreneurs, and academic researchers on campus, by providing an innovative environment for the rapid development of new products and processes.

Dr Graham Strong from Otago Innovation was instrumental in the creation of Flora Finder.

If you would like to know more about Flora Finder, contact Dr Graham Strong 

MEA Mobile

MEA mobile is a full service digital agency with offices in Auckland, Hamilton and New Haven Connecticut, USA.

Their talents range from App development to PR and communications, through to marketing, branding and design.

MEA have worked with a large number of well-known brands. More information about MEA, and to see some of the amazing projects they've worked on, visit their website.

How do I use Flora Finder

There are two ways to use Flora Finder; via application identification or by browsing the plant collection contained on the phone.

Method 1 - Application identification

A brief walk though of how to use Flora Finder can be viewed on MEA Mobile's YouTube channel.

Method 2 - Browsing the leaf samples.

Browsing the leaf samples lets you scroll through a list of all the leaf images Flora Finder understands. This is a useful way to quickly scroll through a list of the plants.


To browse the plants in Flora Finder, press Browse on the App's control buttons. This will open the browse screen (image above left).

Tap a plant entry in the list to bring up the information card, which displays all the information available about that plant (center image).

To see a clearer image of the leaf, tap the plant's icon to the left of its name to view the image (the image at top right).

Flora Finder Frequently Asked Questions

What if Flora Finder isn't able to identify my leaf?

Flora Finder will do it's best to identify your plant based on the leaf image and the shape data you provide. However, if the app is unable to offer a suggestion, you can email a request to the Department of Botany to have your plant identified by a staff member.

To email an identification request, press the 'More' button located at the bottom right of the Flora Finder application's main screen.

From there, select 'Request an ID' form the list of options. Flora Finder will attempt to access the photos stored on your phone.

Select the image you would like to have identified, and an email window will open. From the email window, you are able to add comments, should you choose to submit your request, press 'Send' in the top right corner.

Since someone will need to look into and possibly research what plant you have found based on the photo supplied, it may take a few days before you receive a response.

Does Flora Finder require an Internet connection?

Flora Finder does not require Internet access to operate. Once the app is downloaded to your phone, you have everything you need to start identifying native plants.

If you wish to send an Identification request via email, you will need to have Internet access enabled on your device.

What Plants can Flora Finder Identify?

Flora Finder is able to help identify 86 native New Zealand species. The full list of plants and their scientific names is available on the Flora Finder Plant List page.