The ABC model of flower development represents a milestone in explaining how the fate of emerging floral organ primordia is specified. This model states that organ identity is specified by different combinations of the activities of the A, B and C class homeotic genes. In spite of the remarkable simplicity of this model, the complex regulatory interactions that establish the initial pattern of A, B and C gene activity have yet to be fully explained. It has been shown that the LEAFY gene functions early to promote flower meristem identity, and that it is subsequently required for the normal expression of the ABC genes. Recently, LEAFY has been identified as an immediate upstream regulator of the floral homeotic genes, thus opening up an avenue to examine the transcriptional interactions that underlie floral patterning.