Although ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation is potentially harmful, it is an important component of terrestrial radiation to which plants have been exposed since invading land. Since then, plants have evolved mechanisms to avoid and repair UV radiation damage; therefore, it is not surprising that photomorphogenic responses to UV-B are often assumed to be adaptations to harmful radiation. This presupposes that the function of the observed responses is to prevent UV damage. It has been hypothesized that, as with blue light, UV-B provides a signal important for normal plant development and might be perceived within developing plants through nondestructive processes, perhaps through UV-specific signal perception mechanisms. UV signal perception can lead to photomorphogenic responses that may confer adaptive advantages under conditions associated with high-light environments, such as water stress. Plant responses to UV radiation in this regard include changes in leaf area, leaf thickness, stomatal density, photosynthetic pigment production and altered stem elongation and branching patterns. Such responses may lead to altered transpiration rates and water-use efficiencies. For example, we found that the cumulative effect of ambient UV-B radiation upon stomatal density and conductance can lead to altered water-use efficiencies. In field settings, UV might more properly be viewed as a photomorphogenic signal than as a stressor. Hence, it might be insufficient to attempt to fully evaluate the adaptive roles of plant responses to UV-B cues upon stress tolerance by the simultaneous application of UV and drought stress during development. We propose that rather than examining a plant's response to combinations of stressors one might also examine how a plant's response to UV induces tolerance to subsequently applied stresses.