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Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 9373210, 7 pages
Research Article

Convolutional Recurrent Neural Networks for Observation-Centered Plant Identification

School of Information Science and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Fu Xu and Yu Sun

Received 17 December 2017; Accepted 8 February 2018; Published 8 March 2018

Academic Editor: Ping Feng Pai

Copyright © 2018 Xuanxin Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Traditional image-centered methods of plant identification could be confused due to various views, uneven illuminations, and growth cycles. To tolerate the significant intraclass variances, the convolutional recurrent neural networks (C-RNNs) are proposed for observation-centered plant identification to mimic human behaviors. The C-RNN model is composed of two components: the convolutional neural network (CNN) backbone is used as a feature extractor for images, and the recurrent neural network (RNN) units are built to synthesize multiview features from each image for final prediction. Extensive experiments are conducted to explore the best combination of CNN and RNN. All models are trained end-to-end with 1 to 3 plant images of the same observation by truncated back propagation through time. The experiments demonstrate that the combination of MobileNet and Gated Recurrent Unit (GRU) is the best trade-off of classification accuracy and computational overhead on the Flavia dataset. On the holdout test set, the mean 10-fold accuracy with 1, 2, and 3 input leaves reached 99.53%, 100.00%, and 100.00%, respectively. On the BJFU100 dataset, the C-RNN model achieves the classification rate of 99.65% by two-stage end-to-end training. The observation-centered method based on the C-RNNs shows potential to further improve plant identification accuracy.