In order to test whether an increased export of carbohydrates by leaves and starch mobilization are critical for floral transition in Arabidopsis thaliana, the Columbia ecotype as well as its starchless mutant pgm and starch-in-excess mutant sex1 were investigated. Induction of flowering was achieved by exposure of plants to either one long day (LD) or one displaced short day (DSD). The following conclusions were drawn: (i) Both the pgm and sex1 mutants have a late-flowering phenotype in days shorter than 16 h. (ii) When inductive treatments cause a large, percentage of induced plants, there is always a large, early and transient increase in carbohydrate export from leaves. By contrast, when an inductive treatment results in only a low percentage of induced plants (pgm plants exposed to one DSD), the export of carbohydrates from leaves is not increased, supporting the idea that phloem carbohydrates have a critical function in floral transition. (iii) Starch mobilization is not required to obtain an increased carbohydrate export when induction is by one LD (extended period of photosynthesis), but is absolutely essential when induction is by one DSD (period of photosynthesis unaffected). (iv) Floral induction apparently increases the capability of the leaf phloem-loading system.