App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Leafsnap App Poster Image
Leaf collecting goes high tech with free field guide app.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn more about trees by identifying them via their leaves, and learn how visual recognition software works -- or sometimes doesn't work. When a kid snaps photos of leaves, Leafsnap provides similar matches, but it's up to the user to make the final call on what looks like the closest match. Kids also learn about the process of cataloging leaf photos to build a reference collection. Leafsnap is currently limited in its scope to species found most readily in the American Northeast. Still, kids almost anywhere can learn more about trees with this tech-savvy leaf collection.

Ease of Play

Leaves to be identified must be photographed on a white background, and then potential matches appear. This app definitely requires some discernment on the part of users that may be too difficult for younger kids or people who have no knowledge of trees or leaf identification. Some of the terms in Latin may not make sense to kids who are familiar with the more common names. The games, however, are straightforward and easy to play.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that nature-enthusiast kids can take a photo of a leaf, and Leafsnap will help them identify the tree by using visual recognition software. There are also games to sharpen kids' tree-identification skills. This free app will catalog your leaf photos so you can build your own reference along with the extensive list already on the app. The app provides similar matches to the photo of the leaf in question, but it's up to the user to make the final call on what looks like the closest match. This is the first in a series of app field guides being created by Columbia University, University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. There's also an iPad-only version called Leafsnap For iPad.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBingara January 24, 2019


I photographed 2 leaves. One in particular is very distinctive.
The app could not identify either.
It appears to be US centric. Forget it if you live in Austral... Continue reading
Adult Written byDenise H. May 3, 2017

waste of time

Yes, you have to put a leaf on a white background. I did so and snapped a picture 4 times, every time being told it wasn't on a white background. Gave up... Continue reading

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What's it about?

Nature-loving kids can use Leafsnap to help identify trees. Kids pick a leaf, lay it on a sheet of white paper, and snap an image with their device. When a list of similar-looking leaves appears on the side of the screen, kids compare details to choose a match -- some of which appear much more likely than others. Kids then choose their match and read more detailed information about the tree, save the image to their own catalog, and keep building their online leaf collection.

Is it any good?

This isn't a perfect leaf ID'ing tool, but LEAFSNAP can definitely help kids become more familiar with leaves and trees. And the catalog and games are solidly educational with beautiful photos. If you're taking your phone out on a hike to use this app as a field guide, be prepared to bring a white sheet of paper or something with you because you have to take the photos of leaves you want to identify on a white background. Currently, this app focuses on areas in the Eastern United States, but it promises to include leaves from the entire continental U.S. soon.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Walk a local park with your kid, choosing leaves of trees to snap for the app. Don't forget to bring a white sheet of paper for photo background.

  • Start a leaf collection the old fashioned way, taping leaves on paper and labeling them with the info you find on this app, as well as tactile info such as smell and feel of the leaves.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science and nature

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