Forensic palynology in the United States of America Academic Article uri icon


  • Forensic palynology is the science of applying modern and fossil pollen and spores (palynomorphs) to help solve legal problems. Although knowledge of this technique has been known for many years, it has been used rarely. Surveys conducted of major law enforcement agencies in the United States show that little is known about this area of forensics. Only law enforcement agencies in New Zealand, among the major countries of the world, routinely collect and use forensic pollen studies in civil and criminal cases. Palynomorphs recovered from dirt, clothing, hair, rope, baskets, and materials used as packing can reveal geographical origin or can link an individual or item with the scene of a crime. Likewise, the palynomorphs found in illegal drugs, like marijuana and cocaine, can link those drugs with their source area and can show which shipments of drugs originated from the same, or from different, source areas. Techniques used for collection, processing, and analysis of forensic pollen samples are discussed. Actual case studies using forensic pollen evidence are included as examples. © 1990 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

author list (cited authors)

  • Bryant, V. M., Jones, J. G., & Mildenhall, D. C.

citation count

  • 75

publication date

  • December 1990