Dr. Richard Old

I am a fifth generation resident of Whitman County in southeastern Washington, and self professed “weed nerd”, with a particular fondness for the “channeled scablands” see:
An Exquisite Scar.  Through the years I have taught courses on ethnobotany, survival, plant identification, forensic botany and expert systems. If you are visiting the site in an attempt to identify an unknown plant, and fail in doing so, Email Me an image and I will give it a try.

For those of you more interested in credentials than qualifications, see below.


BS, MS, Washington State University

Ph.D. Plant Science University of Idaho 1990

Weed Identification Specialist, Washington State University Cooperative Extension 1976 to present

Weed Identification Specialist, University of Idaho 1984 – 1992, and 2009 – present

Regional Reviewer, Flora of North America Project

Consultant on forensic botany to state and federal law enforcement agencies (including the Spokane Serial Killer case, aired on Forensic Factor, Season 5 Episode 5, Discovery Channel, spring 2009)

Owner and co-founder, XID Services, Inc., expert-system software for biological identifications.  Used by Flora-ID-Northwest to create the largest interactive plant identification database in the world.

Former Scientific Adviser, Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board (Appointed by Governor)

Former Chair, Education Committee, Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board

Former President, Eastern Washington Native Plant Society

Former Vice-Chair, Whitman County Noxious Weed Control Board

Former President, Eastern Washington Weed Board Association

Former Member BLM Regional Advisory Committee (Appointed by Secretary of the Interior)

Former Member, National Weed Alert Committee, Weed Science Society of America

1991 – Idaho Weed Worker of the Year

1990 – Honorary lifetime member, Washington State Weed Association

1999 – XVI International Botanical Congress, St. Louis Missouri, United States Chairman, Session on Expert Identification Systems

2005 Washington State Weed Warrior, the highest award of the Washington State Weed Association

Author, 1,000 Weeds of North America, interactive identification guide on CD ROM

Author, 1,200 Weeds of the 48 States and Adjacent Canada, interactive identification guide on DVD

Author, 1,225 Weeds of the United States and Adjacent Canada, interactive identification guide on flash drive, the most comprehensive weed identification reference ever published.

Contributor, Flora of the Northeast, Magee and Ahles, 2007 (interactive CD ROM in book jacket)

Contributor, Grasses of the Northeast, Magee, 20014 (interactive CD ROM in book jacket)

Photographic Contributor, Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America, Brandenburg 2010

Contributing Author, Forensic Botany, Hall and Byrd 2012

Co-author, Forb Seedling Identification Guide for the Inland Northwest, Pavek, Erhardt, Heekin, and Old 2013