Plant World

Introduction and Historical Background

What was one of the most-famous criminal cases involving forensic botany?

Forensic botany is the identification of plants or plant products; this form of study can be used to produce evidence for legal trials. One of the first criminal cases to use forensic botany was the famous 1935 trial of Bruno Hauptmann (1899–1936), who was accused, and later convicted, of kidnapping and murdering the son of Charles (1902–1974) and Anne Morrow (1906–2001) Lindbergh. The botanical evidence presented in the case centered on a homemade wooden ladder used during the kidnapping and left at the scene of the crime. After extensive investigation, the plant anatomist Arthur Koehler (1885–1967) showed that parts of the ladder were made from wooden planks taken from Hauptmann’s attic floor.


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