Leafsnap UK app

Tree identification app for iPhone

Leafsnap UK is a field guide to trees using visual recognition software to help identify species from photos of their leaves. The app includes information on 156 tree species in Britain and thousands of beautiful high-resolution images.

The free app is available to download now from the App Store.

Download Leafsnap UK on the App Store

The Leafsnap UK app was developed by the Natural History Museum in collaboration with the US Leafsnap teams.

Key features

  • ID help for 156 tree species across the UK. 
  • Leaf recognition technology.
  • More than 2,000 high-res images of leaves, flowers, fruit and other tree features.
  • Mini fact files on every species, including: native or introduced, where it grows, bloom time and additional ID clues.
  • Content researched and checked by Museum botanists.

Leaf recognition

Leafsnap UK uses leaf shape recognition technology to suggest tree species your leaf could belong to

Leafsnap UK uses leaf recognition technology to suggest the best tree matches for your leaf.

Identify a tree in 2 easy steps

  1. Photograph a leaf on a white background and the app will create a list of species it could belong to.
  2. Confirm the identity by checking the high-res images and text for each possible species. You can zoom in to examine images in detail.

To label your leaf for future reference, simply return to the list and swipe right-to-left over the correct species.

Field guide images and text are always available to browse, but your phone needs an internet connection for leaf recognition to work. No signal? Use the Snap It! function to take photos to upload later.

Contribute to scientific research

Every time you use Snap It!, the image and geo-location information added by your phone are saved to the Leafsnap database for use by scientists researching Britain’s tree population.

Screenshots

Leafsnap UK app for iPhone home screen

Leafsnap UK app for iPhone home screen.

A screenshot from the Leafsnap UK app for iPhone

Photograph a leaf and the Leafsnap UK app will suggest the most likely matches from 156 species in its database. Label the correct match for future reference.

A screenshot from the Leafsnap UK app for iPhone

Browse trees via images of their flowers, fruit or leaves. Order trees by common or scientific name, and search for species.

A screenshot from the Leafsnap UK app for iPhone

The field guide includes high-res images of each tree’s key features, such as leaves, needles, flowers, fruit, cones, seeds and bark.

An image from the Leafsnap UK app for iPhone

View high-res images of key features, such as this bark of the London plane, Platanus hispanica.

A screenshot from the Leafsnap UK app for iPhone

Leafsnap UK includes interesting facts about each species.

An image from the Leafsnap UK app for iPhone

Zoom in on extraordinary high-res detail, such as the hairs on this leaf of the common beech, Fagus sylvatica.

Tips

Leafsnap UK uses cutting-edge visual recognition technology to match the shape of your leaf photo to thousands of leaf images in its database.

Leaves, light conditions and photo style can vary, so here's how to get the best results.

1. Look for a leaf that is representative of others on the tree, that is as flat and undamaged as possible, particularly around the edges.

2. Pick it carefully along with its leafstalk or petiole.

3. Place the leaf face up or down on a white background, a smooth piece of paper or cloth is best. The flatter the leaf, the better.

4. Take a photograph:

  • from directly above the leaf with your iPhone parallel to it
  • outside in even light, shade is better than sunshine, avoid dappled light
  • with as little shadow around the leaf as possible

The leaf should be as big as possible without touching the edges of the screen. Check: 

  • the whole background is white and a white border surrounds the leaf
  • no hands, fingers or anything else are visible in the picture
  • the leaf is in focus, particularly the leaf edges or margins
Compound leaf of the common ash, Fraxinus excelsior

Compound leaf of the common ash.

Compound leaves
Photograph the whole leaf rather than individual leaflets. Compound leaves are leaves with a number of leaflets attached to the leaf stalk or petiole. The leaf of the common ash (Fraxinus excelsior), shown here, is a good example. 

Browse leaves in Leafsnap UK to see high-res examples.

No matches?
There are more species of tree in the UK than the 156 included in this version of Leafsnap UK. It's possible that your leaf isn't yet included. More species will be added to the next version.

Experts involved

Leafsnap UK is a collaboration between Natural History Museum scientists working in the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity and the teams who created the original Leafsnap apps in the US. 

Museum botanists used their expert knowledge to choose the species in Leafsnap UK and to collect the thousands of leaf, flower, fruit, cone, seed and bark specimens featured. They also researched and wrote the descriptive text for each tree.

The Museum team

John Tweddle

John Tweddle, Head of the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity
John supervised the Leafsnap UK scientific team.





Fred Rumsey

Fred Rumsey, botanist and AMC plant enquiries officer
Fred selected the UK species content, wrote the plant profiles, verified and collected plants.





Kath Castillo

Kath Castillo, botanist
Kath was the principal field biologist and collector of plant specimens.





Kate Cross

Kate Coss, botanist
Kate assisted with the collection of plant specimens.






Kevin Webb

Kevin Webb, photographer
Kevin took the high-resolution images included in the app.






We are grateful to the following organisations for providing access to their sites:

  • The Royal Parks, London
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey
  • Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire

The origins of Leafsnap

Leafsnap grew from a realisation that techniques used for face recognition developed by Prof Peter Belhumeur and Prof David Jacobs from the Computer Science departments of Columbia University and the University of Maryland, respectively, could be applied to species identification.

They set up a collaborative effort with Dr John Kress, Chief Botanist at the Smithsonian Institution, to design and build a similar system for plant species.

Find out more about the origins of Leafsnap at Leafsnap.com

Leafsnap UK is supported by

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Leafsnap UK is the latest in the series of EO Wilson Award-winning Leafsnap apps developed by scientists from

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