Anion channels are well documented in various tissues, cell types and membranes of algae and higher plants, and current evidence supports their central role in cell signaling, osmoregulation, plant nutrition and metabolism. It is the aim of this review to illustrate through a few selected examples the variety of anion channels operating in plant cells and some of their regulation properties and unique physiological functions. In contrast, information on the molecular structure of plant anion channels has only recently started to emerge. Only a few genes coding for putative plant anion channels from the large chloride channel (CLC) family have been isolated, and current molecular data on these plant CLCs are presented and discussed. A major challenge remains to identify the genes encoding the various anion channels described so far in plant cells. Future prospects along this line are briefly outlined, as well as recent advances based on the use of knockout mutants in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to explore the physiological functions of anion channels in planta.