Maize seedling transcriptome responses to six abiotic perturbations (heat, cold, darkness, desiccation, salt, ultraviolet-B) were analysed. Approximately 7800 transcripts were expressed in one or more treatments compared with light-grown seedlings plus juvenile leaves from field-grown plants. Approximately 5200 transcripts were expressed in one or more treatments and absent in light-grown seedlings. Approximately 2000 transcripts were unique to one treatment. Salt and heat elicited the largest number of transcript changes; however, salt resulted in mostly a decreased abundance of transcripts, whereas heat shock resulted in mostly an increased abundance of transcripts. A total of 384 transcripts were common to all stress treatments and not expressed in light-grown seedlings; 146 transcripts were present in light-grown seedlings and absent from all stress treatments. A complex pattern of overlapping transcripts between treatments was found, and a significant pattern of congruence in the direction of transcript change between pairs of treatments was uncovered. From the analysis, it appears that the scope of gene expression changes is determined by the challenge, indicating specificity in perception and response. Nonetheless, transcripts regulated by multiple responses are generally affected in the same manner, indicating common or converging regulatory networks. The data are available for additional analysis through a searchable database.