Progression through the plant life cycle involves change in many essential features, most notably in the capacity to reproduce. The transition from a juvenile vegetative and non-reproductive to an adult reproductive phase is gradual and can take many years; in the conifer Norway spruce, Picea abies, typically 20-25 years. We present a detailed analysis of the activities of three regulatory genes with potential roles in this transition in Norway spruce: DAL1, a MADS-box gene related to the AGL6 group of genes from angiosperms, and the two LEAFY-related genes PaLFY and PaNLY. DAL1 activity is initiated in the shoots of juvenile trees at an age of 3-5 years, and then increases with age, whereas both LFY genes are active throughout the juvenile phase. The activity of DAL1 further shows a spatial pattern along the stem of the tree that parallels a similar gradient in physiological and morphological features associated with maturation to the adult phase. Constitutive expression of DAL1 in transgenic Arabidopsis plants caused a dramatic attenuation of both juvenile and adult growth phases; flowers forming immediately after the embryonic phase of development in severely affected plants. Taken together, our results support the notion that DAL1 may have a regulatory role in the juvenile-to-adult transition in Norway spruce.