About the Consultancy

Ian B K Richardson BSc PhD CBiol MIBiol FLS
P James P Richardson BSc (Hons) Biology

Botanical Identifications was established in 1979 by Dr Ian Richardson, plant taxonomist and biogeographer, at that time a research botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Ian has also worked in the Natural History Museum and at Reading University, researching the wild plants of Europe and beyond. Having discovered species new to science, and written and contributed to many publications, including several Floras, he is well-fitted to identify botanical specimens.

Particularly relevant to this consultancy are his books Tree Recognition: A Pocket Manual and Tree Roots and Buildings; click these titles for descriptions, or read about them in publications. Ian also gives lectures and informal talks on these and related topics. As a major part of the consultancy work, we identify tree roots. Over the past twenty-five years we have inspected several million roots, of which Ian has reported in detail on almost half a million, after examination of some four million microscope sections. As the most experienced organisation world-wide in this context, our tree root identification service is highly valued. Our associated site visit commitments, although now limited, have led to Ian serving as an expert witness in the courts and he has also been invited to act as an advisor to national organisations.

We are always prepared to offer advice, and are pleased to discuss problems such as any arising from our root identification reports, appreciating that results are sometimes unexpected; of course we will check our records, but by far the most common explanation is misidentification of the trees on site (how about using Tree Recognition: A Pocket Manual?), and we can often shed light on such mysteries. 

For the past twelve years Ian has been joined by James Richardson, who now runs the day-to-day activities of the laboratory. We greatly value the importance of scientific and ethical integrity in the work, and adhere to strictly objective methods at all times. Our priorities are to provide a competent service with a minimum of formality, thereby contributing to the efficient production of quality site investigation reports. We have flexible staffing arrangements, as workload varies greatly, being dependent on seasonal and climatic factors. But throughout, James and Ian provide continuity and are well able to take personal control of all aspects of the process. We have full Professional Indemnity and Third Party insurance cover.

We trust you will not only learn about us from this web site, but also find it informative and helpful in this very specialized field.