In higher plants, biotic stress (e.g., herbivore or pathogen attack) as well as abiotic stress (in particular heavy metals) often induce the synthesis and accumulation of the same defense-related secondary metabolites. This well-known finding still awaits an explanation regarding the common features of both stress types. In this study, a mechanism is proposed that links reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation with lipid oxidation processes, ultimately resulting in the formation of similar, highly active signalling compounds. The generation of ROS is a common event in both heavy metal treatment and biotic stress although it can depend on quite different, enzymatic and non-enzymatic reactions. Regardless, ROS are involved in the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids which initiate the formation of oxylipins, a highly variable class of lipid-derived compounds in plants. Oxylipins represent new endogenous signals involved in biotic- and abiotic-induced stress responses.