The steady-state distribution of cell-cycle transcripts in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings was studied in a broad in situ survey to provide a better understanding of the expression of cell-cycle genes during plant development. The 61 core cell-cycle genes analyzed were expressed at variable levels throughout the different plant tissues: 23 genes generally in dividing and young differentiating tissues, 34 genes mostly in both dividing and differentiated tissues and four gene transcripts primarily in differentiated tissues. Only 21 genes had a typical patchy expression pattern, indicating tight cell-cycle regulation. The increased expression of 27 cell-cycle genes in the root elongation zone hinted at their involvement in the switch from cell division to differentiation. The induction of 20 cell-cycle genes in differentiated cortical cells of etiolated hypocotyls pointed to their possible role in the process of endoreduplication. Of seven cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor genes, five were upregulated in etiolated hypocotyls, suggesting a role in cell-cycle arrest. Nineteen genes were preferentially expressed in pericycle cells activated by auxin that give rise to lateral root primordia. Approximately 1800 images have been collected and can be queried via an online database. Our in situ analysis revealed that 70% of the cell-cycle genes, although expressed at different levels, show a large overlap in their localization. The lack of regulatory motifs in the upstream regions of the analyzed genes suggests the absence of a universal transcriptional control mechanism for all cell-cycle genes.