Some of the recent advances in flavonoid research are reviewed. The role of anthocyanins and flavones in providing stable blue flower colours in the angiosperms is outlined. The contribution of leaf flavonoids to UV-B protection in plants is critically discussed. Advances in understanding the part played by flavonoids in warding off microbial infection and protecting plants from herbivory are described. The biological properties of flavonoids are considered in an evaluation of the medicinal and nutritional values of these compounds.