Plant species identification, size, and enumeration using machine vision techniques on near-binary images

David M. Woebbecke, George E. Meyer, Kenneth Von Bargen, David A. Mortensen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

128 Scopus citations


Shape parameters such as aspect, roundness, and the ratio of thickness to perimeter were used to describe plant shape and are different according to the species that they represent. Color slide images of several species of plants were digitized for computer analysis. Three optical methods were tested to separate target plants from the soil and residue background. The separation method that provided the best contrast was the normalized difference index. Subtracting the blue or the red raster from the green raster also provided good separation on soils with little residue. Once the plant image had been isolated from the background, leaf edges were automatically traced using a commercial software package. Analysis of the shape of the plant outline was then performed, resulting in the plant shape parameters. Grasses and broadleaf plants had similar values for each shape parameter during the first ten days after emergence. After this period, differences occurred between grasses and broadleaf plants. The parameter that best discriminated grasses from broadleaf plants was the aspect (major axis length/minor axis length). However, when a grass sends out more than one shoot radially from the stem, the aspect will be similar to broadleaf plants. This study contributes to the design of a system that can determine weed populations and identify plant species without the use of human intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsJames A. DeShazer, George E. Meyer, Boris F. Fyodorov
PublisherPubl by Int Soc for Optical Engineering
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0819410373
StatePublished - 1993
EventOptics in Agriculture and Forestry - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Nov 16 1992Nov 17 1992

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOptics in Agriculture and Forestry
CityBoston, MA, USA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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