Flowers of some dicot plants, such as Arabidopsis and Antirrhinum, look very different from those of certain monocot species, such as the grasses – the grasses, for example, do not have sepal- or petal-like structures. So has the transcriptional network that regulates flower development been conserved since monocots and dicots diverged∼150 million years ago? To investigate this, John Doebley and co-workers used insertional mutagenesis to disrupt the zfl1 and zfl2genes in maize, which are homologues of the FLORICAULA (FLO)and LEAFY (LFY) genes in Antirrhinum and Arabidopsis, respectively. FLO and LFY are regulators of the ABC floral organ identity genes, and Doebley and colleagues surprisingly found (see p. 2385) that zfl1 and zfl2 do indeed share conserved roles with these dicot counterparts (despite their evolutionary distance), as zfl1/zfl2 double mutants have disrupted floral organ identity and fail to form normal reproductive structures.