Reverse Image Search

Reverse Image Search is a tool that tries to find images that match a sample you provide. It searches based on image content, not based on a description in words. It has a lot of applications, but I mostly use it to help identify things in photos.

Busy Wildflower Busy Wildflower: Bee, fly, and ant on Lantana Camara

Lynn and I spent a few days at Lake Louisa State Park recently. There were many wildflowers in bloom and I wanted to share some with you. I’m not at all knowledgable about plants and flowers so I used Google’s image search capability to help me ID them (

Wildflower Wand Mullein

You can find a huge number of phone apps, guide books and websites about wildflowers. But there are so many different wildflower species that it’s just about impossible for any one reference to be complete. The ones I’ve tried have been frustrating, which is why I use reverse image search when I want to ID a plant or flower.

Passion Flower Passion Flower

I upload a small version of the photo, and browse the returned images and captions for clues to a preliminary ID. When I think I have a match, I try to confirm it with something like the University of South Florida plant atlas:

Eastern Prickly Pear Prickly Pear

Sometimes I’m pretty confident I’ve got it right, sometimes I’m completely lost (like the header image – no clue), and most times (like the last photo) I’m at least a little uncertain. But it’s fun to try!

Edit: The header image is a Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius L.). Thank you Wally Jones!

Purple Prairie Clover(?) Purple Prairie Clover(?)Sensitive Briar

I enjoy photographing wildflowers and I’d like to identify them when I do. But it’s not easy and I’m definitely not an expert. If you are, please forgive my beginner level advice. Do you have any better tips?

You can view my blog posts about Lake Louisa at this link: and I’ve collected photos from there in this album on Flickr:

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And when you can – photograph a flower and try a reverse image search!

©2021, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

6 thoughts on “Reverse Image Search

  1. I live just North of you and see many of the same things. It’s fun at this time of year but we spend a lot of time trying to ID things too. I have a book, Florida Wild Flowers by C. Ritchie Bell that helps. But I search online a lot too. What you think is a purple prairie clover might be Sensitive Briar. You can search that online and see what you think! Thanks for the beautiful photos! Enjoy your day!

  2. I use an app called “Seek” by iNaturalist (affiliated with National Geographic). Works fairly well.

  3. Great suggestion on using reverse search! Sometimes it can at least get us in the ball park.
    Plants (okay, and bugs and birds, too) remain a challenge for my old brain to identify.

    Your header image is the Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius L.). It’s a woody vine and has an attractive fern-like leaf. The pretty red seeds in those pods can be very toxic. Wash your hands!

    1. Thanks Wally! And thank you for the ID help with Rosary Pea. I really admire your knowledge and how you share field marks and IDs on your blog – very helpful!

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