In animal cells, microtubule assembly is usually initiated at one specialized structure, the centrosome. By contrast, in plant cells, microtubule assembly begins at a variety of locations within the cell. A member of the tubulin gene family, gamma-tubulin, is localized to the centrosome in animal cells and is important in the assembly of microtubules in vivo. Recent reports have identified gamma-tubulin genes in plants and have described the complex intracellular distribution of the encoded polypeptides. Here, Harish Joshi and Barry Palevitz comment upon how this information may help elucidate the organizing principles of the complex arrays of microtubules in plant cells.