Two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis and peptide mass fingerprinting were used to investigate the natural variation in the proteome among 8 Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes, of which 3 were previously shown to display atypical responses to environmental stress. Comparison of 2-D maps demonstrated that only one-quarter of spots was shared by all accessions. On the other hand, only 15% of the 25 majors spots accounting for half the total protein amount could be classified as major spots in all ecotypes. Identification of these major spots demonstrated large differences between the major functions detected. Accordingly, the proteomes appeared to reveal important variations in terms of function between ecotypes. Hierarchical clustering of proteomes according to either the amount of all anonymous spots, that of the 25 major spots or the functions of these major spots identified the same classes of ecotypes, and grouped the three atypical ecotypes. It is proposed that proteome comparison has the capacity to evidence differences in the physiological status of ecotypes. Results are discussed with respect to the possibility to infer such differences from limited comparisons of major proteins. It is concluded that classical proteomics could constitute a powerful tool to mine the biodiversity between ecotypes of a single plant species.