So you're wandering through a wildflower meadow, and you see a purple flower. You think it's prairie verbena, but how to know for sure?
It's NPIN Mobile to the rescue. Starting now, you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone. Quickly, you go to www.wildflower.org/mobile. You choose the Native Plant Database and punch in prairie verbena—now you have a photo to compare and all the information about where the plant lives.
It is prairie verbena! Perhaps you'd like to grow it in your garden. You can search Mr. Smarty Plants to find out if conditions at your home are right for this pretty wildflower. Mr. Smarty Plants--a group of expert Wildflower Center volunteers--answers about 1500 native plant questions each year.
The application was unveiled May 26 at the Instructional Technology Showcase at The University of Texas at Austin.
"This is a perfect tool for today's mobile, tech savvy generation," said Wildflower Center senior botanist Damon Waitt, Ph.D. "People who want to access native plant information anyplace, anywhere, anytime--whether they have a question about how to do something in their garden, want to identify a plant or need other information."
When you pull up the application, four choices appear on your screen—the Native Plant Database, the Image Gallery, Mr. Smarty Plants and "Help Us Grow" which allows you to make a financial contribution to support the Native Plant Information Network.
The Wildflower Center website had about 3.5 million visitors during the past year and most of them were seeking native plant information.