Tree app project

In collaboration with the Centre for Learning and Teaching and The App Lab, the School of Science has developed a smart device app that allows the user to identify the most common native trees of New Zealand. The app comes with a user friendly ‘multiple choice’-type wizard, an A-Z species list and the option to capture, save and share your own sightings. The app is available on both the Android and the iOS platforms.


As young minds are open to new ways of learning  we encourage schools and other institutions to introduce students to this powerful identification tool.

In our eyes, the purpose of knowing plants is not only for its own sake.

We do think further. We believe in “You can only protect what you know”.

People will see their forest with different eyes. Once you know you are surrounded by kauri trees, probably this makes you more aware of taking care of those vulnerable trees once you pass a council sign showing a kauri dieback warning.

Identification wizard

Within the identification wizard the user is given the choice to tick plant characteristics like leaf appearance, fruit colour and bark texture. We included an ‘uncertainty’ option for every character in case e.g. the plant is not in season or we only got a branch or even a single leaf to identify.

We invite users to contribute to our picture gallery to be actively involved. New pictures are supposed to be featured within the following update.

Plant profiles


The identification match will lead to a detailed species site. This site comes with a picture gallery at the top. By ‘touch and slide’ the user can scroll through the gallery.

By ‘double click’ the user can enlarge the photo to have a more detailed look at it.

The gallery is followed by the plant’s season of fruiting and flowering as well as medical features and possible poisoning warnings.

The medical features icon hides additional information.


The gallery is followed by the species closer taxonomy, means common,  Māori and Latin name, family, clade (group) and synonyms.


We want the people to use our app as a pocket guide as well as a pocket species collection tool.

Once the user has identified a tree, he or she will be able to capture a photo of this specimen. The user might want to add notes like a description of the habitat. Automatically the mobile device’s GPS (make sure it’s turned on) will locate your position or it can be set manually.

In your “Sightings” site you will have a gallery of all species you added a sighting to. For your convenience they are sorted by alphabet.

The users can share their sightings with friends on social media or via personal message. This feature allows the user to exchange knowledge and to get verifications on their identifications.

The species features summarize some of the most important characters like ‘leaves arrangement’, ‘fruit’, ‘flower’ and ‘bark colour’ and ‘bark texture’.

A brief description of the plant’s characters, its distribution and some special information in a wider context (‘did you know’ feature) are followed by the Latin name’s etymology.

Explaining or ‘translating’ the species name helps to memorize the actual name as it is mostly related to a plant’s character or to its discoverer.

A-Z species list

Our various filters offer the option to sort all species:

  • by name within three different languages (common, Māori, Latin),
  • by plant family and
  • by plant group (angiosperm, gymnosperm or fern).

Coming update features

We will feature a ‘Glossary’ which will explain all scientific terms and the main characters of the listed plant families.