She finds clues in the foliage

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Do you have questions about what it’s like to be a forensic botanist? Ask Anita Cholewa, and keep your eyes on Science Buzz for the answer!

“Identifying plants from minute details, like the microscopic, gland-tipped hairs of a flower petal, can place a suspect at a crime scene.”

Photo courtesy Anita Cholewa

A criminal always takes something from a crime scene, or leaves something there, whether they know it or not. A tiny, crushed leaf could fall from a suspect’s boot, or their sleeve might hide just a dusting of pollen. Even traces like these can be as incriminating as a fingerprint or a bloodstain.

When a plant might hold key evidence in an investigation, the police call in a specialist like Anita Cholewa. Anita is a forensic botanist, and she can see the clues in the plants.