Nigel Chaffe7

All good things come to an end…

This Cuttings collection is the last that will appear in the Annals of Botany journal. Since the column was launched on an unsuspecting world in January 2010 it’s been my unalloyed pleasure and joy to share with you my thoughts (admittedly, not always fully-formed or sensible…) on many topics with a loosely plant-based theme. If they’ve given any of you reading them a small fraction of the pleasure they’ve given me in researching and writing them, I can consider that a job well done. Along the way we’ve learnt some stuff, had a bit of a laugh, and generally realised that there is an awful lot of great plant science and plant-based stories all around us. I don’t know where I will be next month, but I hope to continue to educate, inform and entertain with tales from the botanical world somewhere, somehow, and that Plant Cuttings will rise again, like a phytological phoenix. I end by thanking Annals of Botany Chief Editor Pat Heslop-Harrison for allowing me the opportunity and privilege to create and curate this column and for his continued support of the Cuttings collections, and the team at Oxford University Press who’ve had the unenviable task of checking the hundreds of items, and the even more onerous one of ensuring that the thousands (? probably!) of URLs worked. Cheers! And farewell from Nigel Chaffey (aka Mr Plant Cuttings).

Nigel Chaffe7
Image: Nigel Chaffey

Pat Heslop-Harrison writes

All’s well that end’s well

We introduced ‘Plant Cuttings’ to Annals of Botany back in January 2010, as a round-up of notable plant-based items from the world’s media. With the inclusion of a news section in the Journal, we aimed to connect and build a community of botanists. We moved on to develop Botany One as the on-line news presence of Annals of Botany (originally as, and Plant Cuttings were also published on-line here, being important for developing the readership, informality and author-base for the blog. Now Botany One is independently edited from the journal, and is widely respected and read with its own community. Indeed, Botany One is ranked as the top botany website and blog for botanists and plant scientists, and the best blog for botany students. At this point, as your Editors do regularly, we have evaluated our Annals of Botany journal content, and have decided that Plant Cuttings should end after this issue, increasing our focus on our core aim of publishing the highest quality of rigorous, refereed science. We are so grateful to ‘Mr P. Cuttings’, personified as Dr Nigel Chaffey, for writing Plant Cuttings over nearly ten years, bringing together an eclectic range of plant-related topics with a characteristic humorous take that was all his own. I will miss reading them each month. Onwards!

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 august international botanical organ - and to Botany One - for almost 10 years. I am now a freelance plant science communicator and Visiting Research Fellow at Bath Spa University. I continue to share my Cuttingsesque items - and appraisals of books with a plant focus - with a plant-curious audience. 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. Happy to be contacted to discuss potential writing - or talking - projects and opportunities.
[ORCID: 0000-0002-4231-9082]


    • Dear Hollis,

      Thank you.
      I do hope to get this ‘column’ revived in future – any offers to host it/commission articles considered(!).
      In the meantime, all the very best with your ‘plants and rocks’ [] blog!



  • […] ** The ever-mischievous Mr Cuttings wonders if this was actually predicted last millennium, by ‘Tyneside’s favourite band’ Lindisfarne in their song ‘Fog on the Tyne’. Everybody interprets the last word to be the name of the mighty river Tyne in the north-east of England. Maybe we’ve been getting it wrong all these years. What if the ‘tyne’ referred to is in fact tine, the name for a prong of a fork? Which ‘pointy thing’ can be likened to a … cactus spine. However, and much like the issue with the quatrains of Nostradamus, it’s only after an event has come to pass that any ‘prediction’ can be understood. Which makes it little use as a prediction. Sorry, this is just ‘end-of-term’ foolishness from Mr C – the reason for which is provided by the next, final, plant cutting. […]

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