Plant growth and development is regulated by complex interactions among different hormonal, developmental and environmental signalling pathways. Isolation of mutants in these processes is a powerful approach to dissect unknown mechanisms in regulatory networks. The plant hormones abscisic acid (ABA) and auxin are involved in vegetative, developmental and environmental growth responses, including cell division and elongation, vascular tissue differentiation and stress adaptation. The uidA (beta-glucuronidase; GUS) reporter gene driven by the carrot (Daucus carota) late embryogenesis-abundantDc3 promoter in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings is ABA-inducible in the root zone of elongation and vasculature. We show here that the ABA-insensitive2-1 mutation (abi2) reduces ABA-inducible Dc3-GUS expression in these root tissues. Dc3-GUS expression is also induced in root cortex cells by indole-3-acetic acid. We mutagenized, with ethyl methane sulfonate, 5100 M1 abi2/abi2 homozygous plants of a line that carries two independent Dc3-GUS reporter genes and screened M2 clonal lines for ABA-inducible Dc3-GUS expression in roots. We isolated two novel single-gene nuclear mutants, harlequin (hlq) and short blue root (sbr), that ectopically express Dc3-GUS in roots and have pleiotropic effects on morphogenesis. The hlq mutant expresses Dc3-GUS in a checkered pattern in epidermis of roots and hypocotyls, accumulates callose and has deformed and collapsed epidermal cells and abnormal and reduced root hairs and leaf trichomes. It (hlq) is also dwarfed, skotomorphogenic and sterile. The sbr mutant is a seedling-lethal dwarf that over-expresses Dc3-GUS in the root and has radially swollen epidermal cells in the root and hypocotyl, supernumerary cell number in the root cortex and epidermis, abnormal vasculature, and abnormal epidermal cell patterning in cotyledons and leaves. It (sbr) also exhibits a semidominant root phenotype of reduced growth and lateral root initiation. The hlq and sbr mutants are not rescued by exogenous application of plant growth regulators. The hlq and sbr mutants do not require the abi2-1 mutant gene for their phenotypes and map to chromosome III and I, respectively. Further characterization of the hlq and sbr phenotypes and genes may provide insights into the relationship of hormone- and stress-regulated gene expression to morphogenesis and plant growth.