Synthesis of flavonoid pigments in flowers requires the co-ordinated expression of genes encoding enzymes in th phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathway. Some cis-elements involved in the transcriptional control of these genes have been defined. We report binding of petal-specific activities from tobacco and Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon) to an element conserved in promoters of phenylpropanoid biosynthetic genes and implicated in expression in flowers. These binding activities were inhibited by antibodies raised against Myb305, a flower-specific Myb protein previously cloned from Antirrhinum by sequence homology. Myb305 bound to the same element and formed a DNA-protein complex with the same mobility as the Antirrhinum petal protein in electrophoretic mobility shift experiments. Myb305 activated expression from its binding site in yeast and in tobacco protoplasts. In protoplasts, activation also required a G-box-like element, suggesting co-operation with other elements and factors. The results strongly suggest a role for Myb305-related proteins in the activation of phenylpropanoid biosynthetic genes in flowers. This is consistent with the genetically demonstrated role of plant Myb proteins in the regulation of genes involved in flavonoid synthesis.