Forensic Botany: A Practical Guide is an accessible introduction to the way in which botanical evidence is identified, collected and analysed in criminal cases. Increasingly this form of evidence is becoming more important in forensic investigation and yet there are few trained botanists able to assist in such cases. This book is intended to show how useful simple collection methods and standard plant analysis can be in the course of such investigations and is written in a clear and accessible manner to enhance understanding of the subject for the non-specialist.
Clearly structured throughout, this book combines well known collection techniques in a field oriented format that can be used for casework. Collection of evidence differs from formal plant collection in that most professional plant collectors are gathering entire plants or significant portions of a plant for permanent storage and reference. Evidence frequently consists of fragments, sometimes exceedingly tiny. Exemplars (examples of reference plants) are collections of plants made in the manner a botanist would collect them. These collections are necessary to link or exclude evidence to or from a scene. Various methods that allow easy collection, transportation, and preservation of evidence are detailed throughout the book.
List of contributors ix
Series Foreword xi
Prologue: the begining xiii
1 Introduction to forensic botany 1
2 Plants as evidence 12
3 Evidence collection and analysis 45
4 Expert evidence 79
5 Use and guidelines for plant DNA analyses in forensics 93
6 A primer on forensic microscopy 107
7 Plant anatomy 119
8 Palynology, pollen, and spores, partners in crime: what, why, and how 127
9 Algae in forensic investigations 145
10 Case Studies in forensic botany 174