Deep neural networks for explainable feature extraction in orchid identification

Diah Harnoni Apriyanti*, Luuk J. Spreeuwers, Peter J.F. Lucas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Automated image-based plant identification systems are black-boxes, failing to provide an explanation of a classification. Such explanations are seen as being essential by taxonomists and are part of the traditional procedure of plant identification. In this paper, we propose a different method by extracting explicit features from flower images that can be employed to generate explanations. We take the benefit of feature extraction derived from the taxonomic characteristics of plants, with the orchids as an example domain. Feature classifiers were developed using deep neural networks. Two different methods were studied: (1) a separate deep neural network was trained for every individual feature, and (2) a single, multi-label, deep neural network was trained, combining all features. The feature classifiers were tested in predicting 63 orchid species using naive Bayes (NB) and tree-augmented Bayesian networks (TAN). The results show that the accuracy of the feature classifiers is in the range 83-93%. By combining these features using NB and TAN the species can be predicted with an accuracy of 88.9%, which is better than a standard pre-trained deep neural-network architecture, but inferior to a deep learning architecture after fine-tuning of multiple layers. The proposed novel feature extraction method still performs well for identification and is explainable, as opposed to black-box solutions that only aim for the best performance. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26270-26285
Number of pages16
JournalApplied intelligence
Issue number21
Early online date21 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Automated digital plant classification
  • Deep learning
  • Feature extraction
  • Image interpretation
  • Orchids


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