Forensic Botany

Forensic botany is the application of plant and algal science to legal matters. Dr. Hardy's casework in this area ranges from working with food companies' quality assurance divisions to determine the nature and identity of foreign (botanical) objects in their food production lines to the analysis of trace botanical evidence to resolve criminal kidnappings, assaults, and murders. His expertise includes the processing of both terrestrial and aquatic (e.g. ponds, streams, lakes) crime scenes. At Millersville University, he teaches a course called Forensic Botany Case Reports and he collaborates in both research and casework with his forensic entomologist colleague Dr. John Wallace.

Left: Dr. Hardy investigating botanical evidence in October 2022. Photo by Kelsey Madas.

Selected Press on This Topic

  • Professor testifies in murder trial (story by Kelsey Madas)
  • Algae link suspect to attempted sexual battery (story & video by CBS News 6 Orlando and Click Orlando)
  • Florida man sentenced for raping and murdering girlfriend's daughter (story by Colin Kalmbacher)



Selected Publications on This Topic

  • Hardy CR, CD Steinhart. 2013. Forensic botany in the resolution of an agricultural vandalism case. Journal of Forensic Identification 63: 144-154.
  • Hardy CR. 2012. A primer on forensic microscopy. Pp 107-118 (Chapter 6) in DW Hall, JH Byrd (eds) Forensic Botany: A Practical Guide. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. London.
  • Hardy CR, DS Martin*[MU '11]. 2012. Plants and wildlife forensics. Pp 145-160 (Chapter 9) in JE Huffman, JR Wallace (eds) Wildlife Forensics: Methods and Applications. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, London.
  • Hardy CR, JR Wallace. 2012. Algae in forensic investigations. Pp 145-173 (Chapter 9) in DW Hall, JH Byrd (eds) Forensic Botany: A Practical Guide. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. London.