A new iPhone app from the City of Edmonton can help you winnow noxious weeds from your garden and stop the spread of invasive species.

The new Alberta Weed Spotter iPhone app helps people identify plants on their properties.

Noxious weeds have to be removed because they destroy natural habitat or spread diseases to crops. Some of them are poisonous.

creeping bell flower

Creeping bell flower is pretty but it is an invasive species that has to be removed by homeowners. (Travis McEwan/CBC News )

Developer Daniel Laubhann is an environmental technician with the City of Edmonton. He says the app helps the public identify and and report weeds.

“That really allows us to go after species and know where they are and get an early response going,” he said.

The app was developed to get the public’s help in removing weeds by pinpointing new locations, Laubhann said.

“We are always looking at that very first plant that invades our areas because then the eradication efforts will be very minimal,” he said.

Lesley Harrington has a garden that she tries to leave in as natural state as possible. Her young son Ewan likes the plants with little purple flowers shaped like bells.

“They're really beautiful and bees always work on them,” he said.

When Harrington tried the app, she was disappointed to learn that the plants with the pretty purple flowers are in fact creeping bell flower, an “aggressive invader.”

“Cause the bees really seem to like it and it's all over the yard,” she said. “But I can pull it out, now I know what to pull out.”

When homeowners receive a notice from the city`s weed inspectors, they have ten days to get rid of the plants. If they don't, the city will hire contractors to pull the weeds out and send the homeowner the bill.

Harrington plans to deal with the weeds herself.

“I would be really annoyed to get fined,” Harrington said. “So yeah, I need to figure out how to deal with it.”

The free app is now available for iPhones. The city will roll out an Android version by the end of the year.