Background Measurements of rind thickness and stem diameter are important to biomechanical, ecological and physiological plant studies. However, many methods of measuring rind thickness and diameter are labor intensive and induce plant fatality. A novel, minimally invasive rind puncture methodology for obtaining measurements of rind thickness and stem diameter is investigated. The suitability of the method for implementation in plant studies is presented. Results The novel rind puncture technique was used to obtain measurements of rind thickness and diameter for samples of Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) that were highly correlated with caliper measurements and photographic image analysis measurements. Higher sample throughput was demonstrated by the novel rind puncture technique than by caliper measurements and image analysis techniques. Conclusions The novel rind puncture technique shows promise as a high throughput method for determining rind thickness and diameter. The technique produces measurements that are well correlated with existing plant measurement methods. It does not require sectioning and/or imaging of plant samples. The technique is an excellent candidate for direct implementation in the field. Since this study was carried out, the novel rind puncture technique has been used effectively by the authors in additional plant studies.