Forensic Plant Science,
Edition 1
By Jane H Bock and David Norris, PhD

Publication Date: 15 Jan 2016
Forensic botany is the application of plant science to the resolution of legal questions. A plant’s anatomy and its ecological requirements are in some cases species specific and require taxonomic verification; correct interpretation of botanical evidence can give vital information about a crime scene or a suspect or victim. The use of botanical evidence in legal investigations in North America is relatively recent. The first botanical testimony to be heard in a North American court concerned the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s baby boy and the conviction of Bruno Hauptmann in 1935. Today, forensic botany encompasses numerous subdisciplines of plant science, such as plant anatomy, taxonomy, ecology, palynology, and diatomology, and interfaces with other disciplines, e.g.,  molecular biology, limnology and oceanography.

Forensic Plant Science presents chapters on plant science evidence, plant anatomy, plant taxonomic evidence, plant ecology, case studies for all of the above, as well as the educational pathways for the future of forensic plant science.

Key Features

  • Provides techniques, collection methods, and analysis of digested plant materials
  • Shows how to identify plants of use for crime scene and associated evidence in criminal cases
  • The book’s companion website:, will host a microscopic atlas of common food plants
About the author
By Jane H Bock, Professor emerita in biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. and David Norris, PhD, Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado
Table of Contents
Dedication Author Biographies Foreword by Tom A. Ranker Foreword by Haskell M. Pitluck Preface Acknowledgments 1. Introduction to Forensic Plant Science 1. Introduction to Plants 2. The Early History of Plant Science 3. Plant Poisonings 4. Illegal Drugs of Plant Origins 5. Twentieth-Century Forensic Plant Science 6. Our Introduction to Forensic Plant Science 2. Suitability of Forensic Plant Science Evidence for Courtroom Presentations 1. The Current State of Forensic Science in the USA 2. Court Decisions Concerning Presentation of Scientific Evidence and Expert Opinion 3. How Does Daubert Relate to Forensic Plant Science 3. Sources for Forensic Plant Science Evidence 1. Plant Anatomy 2. Plant Taxonomy 3. Plant Ecology 4. Genetic Analyses: Use of Deoxyribonucleic Acid 4. Forensic Plant Anatomy 1. Some Plant Basics 2. The Human Digestive System 3. Plant Cells and Time of Death 4. Collection and Sampling Methods for Digestive Tract Materials 5. Processing of Forensic Samples Using Plant Anatomy 6. The Role of Statistics in Evaluating Plant Cells in Digestive Contents 7. Summary 5. Cases Using Evidence from Plant Anatomy 1. Forensic Plant Anatomy Involving Determination of Time of Death 2. Forensic Plant Anatomy and Aging Gravesites 3. Cases Involving Fecal Material 6. Forensic Plant Taxonomy 1. Plant Taxonomy Fieldwork 7. Plant Taxonomy Cases 1. Plants Containing “Recreational¿ Drugs 2. “Poisoned Pen¿ Letters 3. Nothing Like a Short Drive at the Golf Course 4. “Moss¿ Not Grass 5. The Burning Torso 6. Don’t Know Why… 8. Plant Ecology 1. An Overview of Ecology for the Forensic Scientist 2. Procedures and Resources Useful for Forensic Plant Ecology 3. Sources of Ecological Plant Scientists 9. Forensic Plant Ecology Cases 1. Uses of Forensic Plant Ecology Connecting Suspects to Crime Scenes Using Plant Fragments 2. Uses of Forensic Plant Ecology in the Location of Clandestine Graves 3. Other Uses for Forensic Plant Ecology 10. Additional Approaches in Forensic Plant Science 1. Palynology 2. Diatoms 11. Summation and a Look to the Future 1. A Brief Summary of Forensic Plant Science Approaches 2. How to Become a Forensic Botanist 3. Forensic Botany in the Courtroom 4. Forensic Botany in the Twenty-First Century 5. Establishment of Forensic Botany or Forensic Plant Science as a Subdiscipline within the Forensic Sciences and Botanical Science Organizations Appendix I. Materials Needed for Plant Anatomy Analyses Appendix II. Techniques for Slide Preparation to Examine Gastrointestinal Specimens or Fresh/Frozen/Cooked Food Samples with the Compound Light Microscope Appendix III. Making Accurate Measurements with the Microscope Appendix IV. Composition of Solutions Used in Preparation of Plant Cells for Microscopic Examination Appendix V. Methods for Verification of Feces and Vomitus Appendix VI. Maceration of Wood Samples for Microscopic Examination Appendix VII. Photographic Atlas Contents Subject Index Vernacular Names Index Scientific Names Index
Book details
ISBN: 9780128014752
Page Count: 226
Retail Price : £73.99
9780123970053; 9780128006474
Instructor Resources
Forensic scientists, forensic pathologists, forensic science students and educators, attorneys, judges, investigating police officers and private investigators