Forensic Botany Hits the Airwaves: FPL Scientist Gets Radio Play

Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) research botanist Alex Wiedenhoeft took the spotlight on a recent segment of Wisconsin Public Radio’s The Larry Meiller Show.

Wiedenhoeft, team leader in FPL’s Center for Wood Anatomy Research, shed some light on forensic botany and how wood can help crack a case.

FPL botanist Alex Wiedenhoeft

“We focus on those aspects of wood science that can answer questions about illegality when the information is built into the wood itself,” Wiedenhoeft said.

Wiedenhoeft discussed some notable cases, including how his research helped authorities link a pool cue to the scene of a murder.

Wiedehoeft’s colleague University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of botany Sara Hotchkiss joined the conversation, weighing in on the role plant pollen can play in criminal investigations.

The conversation also focused on topics such as illegal logging, and Wiedenhoeft’s favorite forensic case, involving sauerkraut.

To learn more about how criminology benefits from the study of plants, Wiedenhoeft’s work and how sauerkraut and wood are linked, stream or download the full episode of WPR’s The Larry Meiller Show.

Blog post by Francesca Yracheta