Plants synthesize many fatty acid derivatives, several of which play important regulatory roles. Jasmonates are the best characterized examples. Jasmonate-insensitive mutants and mutants with a constitutive jasmonate response have given us new insights into jasmonate signalling. The jasmonate biosynthesis mutant opr3 allowed the dissection of cyclopentanone and cyclopentenone signalling, thus defining specific roles for these molecules. Jasmonate signalling is a complex network of individual signals and recent findings on specific activities of methyl jasmonate and (Z)-jasmone add to this picture. In addition, there are keto, hydroxy and hydroperoxy fatty acids that might be involved in cell death and the expression of stress-related genes. Finally, there are bruchins and volicitin, signal molecules from insects that are perceived by plants in the picomole to femtomole range. They highlight the importance of fatty acid-derived molecules in interspecies communication and in plant defence.