Jasmonic acid is an oxylipin signaling molecule derived from linolenic acid. So far, jasmonate (JA) (including the free acid and a number of conjugates) has been shown to regulate or co-regulate a wide range of processes in plants, from responses to biotic and abiotic stresses to the developmental maturation of stamens and pollen in Arabidopsis. This review focuses on discoveries in several of these areas. Most work described is from studies in Arabidopsis. While the results are expected to be broadly applicable to other higher plants, there are cases where related but distinct phenotypes have been observed in other species (e.g., tomato). Investigation of JA action in wound- and insect-defense responses has established that this compound is an essential component of the systemic signal that activates defense genes throughout the plant. It is possible that JA acts indirectly through the production of reactive oxygen species including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The availability of Arabidopsis mutants deficient in JA synthesis has been central to the identification of additional roles for JA in defense against microbial pathogens and in reproductive development. Currently, the key issues in JA action are to understand the role of the skip/cullin/F-box ubiquitination complex, SCF(COI1), and to identify additional protein components that act in the early steps of JA signaling.