Identification tool for 🌱︎🚶︎  gardeners , landscapers, naturalists, teachers, students, ⚜︎ scouts, citizen scientists and anyone who wants to learn more about the world around them.

Why use I Can See Nature?
How does I Can See Nature work?
What we cover

🌳︎☙ Plant geeks   📱︎💻︎ Computer geeks

Why use I Can See Nature?

This web app concentrates on identification, which we do in a unique way:

  1. We provide multiple identification paths, to help you identify your specimen regardless of conditions — short or tall, growing season or dormant, flowering or not.
  2. We provide backlinks, additional paths, and easily-confused charts, for when you get off-track.
  3. We provide id paths based on attributes you can observe in the 🏞 field.  Without tools, whenever possible.
  4. We field-test our product, leading to continual improvements.  And invite our 👥︎ community to help.

After you complete the identification path, we:

Throughout the process:

For all these reasons, we hope you will find this tool easier to use than that 📚︎ stack of fieldguides in your 🎒︎ fieldpack.  Lighter, too, and always with you, thanks to being mobile-friendly graphic, select to go to this page's section on mobile-friendly re­spon­sive/​mobile-first/​mobile-friendly!

And we hope you appreciate this tool's ⟰ educational com­po­nent.  Not just because we value ⟰ education, but because after you have identified something using this tool a few times, we hope you will find ICSN faster to use, and needed only for novel specimens!

To return to the page you came from, you can use your browser's or or or or function.

Or you can use the buttons in the top-left and bottom-left corners on each page in this site.

Or on an Apple iPhone, you can swipe the screen from left-to-right.

Or you can use the button(s) at the bottom of each page.  We include buttons not just to:
   A)  the page from where you came (a normal backlink), but also to
   B)  each page that links to your page.

This allows you to:
   A)  return to the page from where you came (via that normal backlink), or
   B)  traverse up and down along the lower levels of the ID path page hierarchies.

Of this, this page is a bad example, with only …

Navigate to pages that link here  🏠︎ home page

  = about, approximately.
  + = or more.
  > = greater than.
  < = less than.

🌳︎☙ Plant geeks, keep reading …

If you are an uber-plant-geek, such as a paleobotanist, you probably want to do morphotyping (binning) ( nice chart  Adobe Acrobat Reader file ) as a more industrial method of identifying plants.

Identifying what you see usually involves an 🆔︎🔑︎ identification key.

Most 📚︎ fieldbooks use 🆔︎🔑︎ identification keys that are:

  1. single-access (set up only one way — if the 🔑︎ key wants to know about hairs on the leaves, and it is winter or the leaves are 20 m [70 ft] up, you are out of luck),
  2. unidirectional (each node/​entry/​webpage references/​links/​points to only its child nodes, not its parent[s]),
  3. dichotomous (each decision node references/​links/​points to exactly two child nodes), and
  4. static (non-interactive).

This tool uses 🆔︎🔑︎ identification keys that are:

  1. multi-access (e.g., you can identify a maple by its 🍁︎ leaves in its growing season, by its leaf scars in its dormant season, and by its bark if it is tall),
  2. bidirectional (each node/​entry/​webpage references/​links/​points both directions — to its child and parent nodes),
  3. polytomous (we can fit more than two buttons on a screen), and
  4. interactive.

From our various sources, we strive to select criteria that are easy to use:

  1. We won't ask you to use a 🔬︎ microscope.
  2. We will minimize use of a 🔎︎ hand-lens (although I now carry one, to see hairs or bundle scars ).
  3. You probably have no need of a 📏︎ ruler or tape measure if you know your thumb width,  ✋︎ palm width,  🥾 boot-top height,  👟︎ shoe length  and 🚶︎ stride.
  4. We will minimize asking you what is 20 m (70 ft) in the air (although binoculars might help if you can't determine which leaves on the ground belonged to your tree).
  5. We won't ask you what the plant did months ago, such as whether the plant started with one or two leaves (monocot vs 🌱︎ dicot), or whether the flower emerged before the leaves.

I Can See Nature! is proudly envisioned, built, maintained and fostered in West Michigan, in and around Kent County and Grand Rapids!

Thank you!   — Eric Piehl (he/him/his), Founder, CTO, 📱︎💻︎ computer geek/​Master Naturalist/​citizen scientist/​agent of change/​environmental entrepreneur.   LinkedIn.   Eric Piehl comments on … some of my other projects.