In the past decade, enormous progress has been made in our understanding of the molecular and genetic control of meristem growth, maintenance and differentiation into plant organs. Several model plants have contributed to our current knowledge of meristem function. Research using Petunia has had a substantial share in this progress. Integration of information obtained from this species gives clues about the common and diverged pathways underlying the formation and functioning of plant meristems. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.