The identification of a spontaneous mutable Hf1 allele in Petunia hybrida provided an opportunity to isolate and characterize a novel transposable element. This 9.9 kb element has features in common with members of the Spm family, such as homologous terminal inverted repeats and a 3 bp target site direct duplication within the Hf1 gene. The element is named Petunia Spm-like (Psl). The footprints left by excising elements have been isolated from several germinal revertants and sequence analysis shows similarities to those left by other Spm family members. Southern analysis shows that the transposon is present at low copy number in the genome of different inbred lines and species of Petunia. The germinal excision frequency of Psl was 21-33% in outcross populations. The element appears to be very mobile somatically in the inbred line V26, with 38% of plants from an inbred population showing new Psl-hybridizing bands by Southern analysis. The high somatic and germinal excision frequency demonstrated by Psl suggests that this element may have utility for gene tagging in petunia.