Smartphone app identifies weeds invasive to Alaska

Common toadflax is native to Europe, but is an invasive species in Alaska. (Creative Commons photo by Oxana Maher)
Common toadflax is native to Europe, but is an invasive species in Alaska. (Creative Commons photo by Oxana Maher)

A new smartphone application is helping researchers learn where plant species invasive to Alaska are growing.

The Peninsula Clarion reports that when someone using the Alaska Weeds ID app finds an unknown plant, they can use their smartphone to both identify it and alert a professional botanist of its location.

Users take a photo of the plant and submit it to a team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension service. One of five team members across the state then identifies the plant and replies.

According to invasive plants instructor Gino Graziano, if the plant is invasive he then calls the appropriate land manager depending on who owns the property.