What’s that weed? How an app can help you with identification


If you’re in any way active in your yard or garden, or if you’re a farmer or outdoorsman, you’ve likely come across many weeds, some of which you may not have recognized.

To help with weed identification, the University of Missouri Extension developed an iPhone and Android app called ID Weeds to help homeowners, gardeners and farmers identify the weeds they come across.

Related: Progress: Smartphone apps for weed control

The app was released in 2012, but since then, it has been updated to include new graphics and to be more user-friendly. The app is free to download.

Using the app

ID Weeds app
The University of Missouri’s Weed ID app.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can search for weeds by plant features, name or an alphabetical list.

Search plant features

If you choose to search by plant features, the app takes you through a series of identifying marks (i.e. grassy or broadleaf, habitat, leaf arrangement, leaf characteristics, leaf shape, etc.). You can leave some of the characteristics blank if you aren’t sure. If you do this, a list of weeds with the characteristics you’ve selected will come up after clicking on the “Identify” button.

It’s helpful to either have the weed with you or to have a photo of the weed to help you through the identification process.

Search by name

If you choose to search by name, all weeds containing that name will appear, each with photos and description. For instance, if you search “thistle,” nine results will come up.

Search by alphabetical list

If you choose to search by the alphabetical list, you can search by the first letter of the weed.


If you don’t have access to a smartphone, you can still experience the benefits of the app on the Internet instead. Access the Weed ID Guide on the University of Missouri Extension website.

While the app is intended for Missourians and those living in adjacent states, some of the weeds can be found in other locations in the U.S.


Have you used this app, or a similar one? Tell us in the comments below!


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