Carry all the Peninsula’s flowers in your pocket
AUG 18, 2021 | Written and screenhots by Gigi Laidler.
Cape Town residents and visitors to the Mother City who have an interest in the wildflowers of the Peninsula: here’s a tip for you. You can now carry a quick-access floral reference guide in your pocket on your smartphone, to help you identify the flowers you see around you.
You simply need to download the FloraDoc app which is available on both the Android and IOS platforms. It’s based on the Flora Documentation Programme (FDP) database compact disk, which has been available through the Botanical Society bookshop for many years. The app’s content is compiled and maintained by the FloraDoc Group of the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area (FOSNA). It was developed by Koya Software Solutions.
Above: The FloraDoc app is available on both the Android and IOS platforms.
What you need to use this app
A basic understanding and knowledge of how plant families and genera are organised are required to help navigate to a particular species, as well as knowing the scientific names. The app contains a comprehensive bibliography and referenced descriptions for each of the 2 360 naturally occurring plant species (indigenous and most naturalised aliens), with photographs for almost 1 700 of these species. The developers are constantly working on sourcing more and better images and expanding on the species’ descriptions with free upgrades released as these become available.
Using the app is simple, with three main screens from which you can navigate towards making an identification. You can search:
- At family level
- At genus level
- Or if you know which species you are looking for, you can search straight to a specific species. The search function uses text autocomplete, providing a list of available names at each level.
The FloraDoc app is a handy tool to complement the numerous excellent field guides that are available and allows for field IDs, so that you can leave the heavier field guide books at home.
Above: Users can search at family, genus or species level to find a plant.
Above: Searching at genus level displays all the species found on the Peninsula, indicating which ones have photos available.
Above: Each species has fully referenced descriptions, including the location and the photographer.
Here’s a handy tip for new users
If you are not that familiar with plant families and plant identification, spend some time browsing through various families or genera to learn what features one uses to identify members of that group. With practice and by using the app this process becomes easier as you become more familiar with naming and identifying plant groups.
Once you have started using the app, your appreciation for our floral wealth will step up a level, enticing you to go out and explore and learn more about the beauty that surrounds us.
Know, grow, protect and enjoy South Africa’s indigenous plants.
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