Image: portrait of the 31-year-old Charles Darwin by George Richmond, 1840.
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Darwin reviews reviewed

Image: portrait of the 31-year-old Charles Darwin by George Richmond, 1840.
Image: portrait of the 31-year-old Charles Darwin by George Richmond, 1840.

If –  apparently like me –  you nodded off a little during 2009’s Darwin double-celebration (his birth in 1809 and publication of Origins in1859), you may have overlooked the Darwin Reviews series launched by the Journal of Experimental Botany (one of our partner publications in the OUP stable). The JXB Darwin series aims to ‘present modern, contemporary reviews from leading researchers chosen to reflect Charles Darwin’s wide range of interests in plant biology. Authors will write on the state of their art today and they will choose whether or not Darwin’s work will be reflected in what they write and on how, or if, his scientific legacies colour how their research proceeds today’. Intrigued? Well, why not take a look at them now? They’re great for teaching (as are the Annals of Botany’s own Botanical Briefings and Invited Reviews:, are free (ditto!), and contain easily downloaded figures as PowerPoint slides (ditto, again!). To whet your appetite, titles include: Terrestrial plant production and climate change, Phytochrome functions in Arabidopsis development, Energetics and the evolution of carnivorous plants-Darwin’s ‘most wonderful plants in the world’, Thigmomorphogenesis: a complex plant response to mechano-stimulation, Understanding phototropism: from Darwin to today, Role of aquaporins in leaf physiology, and Plant cell walls throughout evolution: towards a molecular understanding of their design principles. Not to be outdone, and in fairness, I ought to mention the Annals of Botany’s own homage to Darwin – in case you missed that one, too – at, which includes original articles from the late 19th century by Annals’ co-founder ‘Darwin Junior’. And if that’s not enough ‘darwiniana’ for you, you might also like to explore the original works that influenced these modern-day tributes to the ‘bearded botanist’ himself at Thank you, JXB!

Nigel Chaffey

I am a Botanist and former Senior Lecturer in Botany at Bath Spa University (Bath, near Bristol, UK). As News Editor for the Annals of Botany I contributed the monthly Plant Cuttings column to that international plant science journal for almost 10 years. As a freelance plant science communicator I continue to share my Cuttingsesque items - and appraisals of books with a plant focus - with a plant-curious audience at Plant Cuttings [] (and formerly at Botany One []). In that guise my main goal is to inform (hopefully, in an educational, and entertaining way) others about plants and plant-people interactions, and thereby improve humankind's botanical literacy. I'm happy to be contacted to discuss potential writing - or talking - projects and opportunities.
[ORCID: 0000-0002-4231-9082]

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