The essential cell division protein FtsZ forms a dynamic ring structure at the future division site. This Z-ring contracts during cell division while maintaining a position at the leading edge of the invaginating septum. Using immunofluorescence microscopy we have characterized two situations in which non-ring FtsZ structures are formed. In ftsZ26 (temperature sensitive, Ts) mutant cells, FtsZ-spirals are formed and lead to formation of spirally invaginating septa, which in turn cause morphological abnormalities. In rodAoul mutant cells, which grow as spheres instead of rods, FtsZ-arcs are formed where asymmetric septal invaginations are initiated. The FtsZ-arcs later mature into complete FtsZ-rings. Our data show that Z-spirals and Z-arcs can contract and that in doing so, they determine the shape of the invaginating septa. These results also strongly suggest that in normal cell division, FtsZ is positioned to a single nucleation site on the inner membrane, from which it polymerizes bidirectionally around the cell circumference to form the Z-ring.