A major function of phytochromes in light-grown plants involves the perception of changes in the relative amounts of red and far-red light (R:FR ratio) and the initiation of the shade-avoidance response. In Arabidopsis thaliana, this response is typified by increased elongation growth of petioles and accelerated flowering and can be fully induced by end-of-day far-red light (EOD FR) treatments. Phytochrome B-deficient (phyB) mutants, which have a constitutive elongated-petiole and early-flowering pheno-type, do not display a petiole elongation growth response to EOD FR, but they do respond to EOD FR by earlier flowering. Seedlings deficient in both phytochrome A and phytochrome B (phyA phyB), have a greatly reduced stature compared with wild-type or either monogenic mutant. The phyA phyB double null mutants also respond to EOD FR treatments by flowering early, suggesting the operation of novel phytochromes. Contrary to the behaviour of wild-type or monogenic phyA or phyB seedlings, petiole elongation in phyA phyB seedlings is reduced in response to EOD FR treatments. This reduction in petiole elongation is accompanied by the appearance of elongated internodes such that under these conditions the plants no longer display a rosette habit.