Arabidopsis thaliana is a small annual plant native to Eurasia which most gardeners are likely to dismiss as a “weed”. Compared to other relatives of the mustard family (Brassicaceae) such as cabbage or rapeseed, it has little agronomic significance. It is however an important model organism for studying plant development due to its short generation time, small size, large number of small seeds, and small genome.
In 2000 it was the first plant ever to have its genome sequenced. Researchers around the world have used this tiny plant as a Rosetta Stone for plant biology. Many discoveries about flowering were made first in Arabidopsis and then transferred to other species and crops. Today many other plants are being used as models for specific topics. For instance, Brachypodium distachyon is a better model for studying monocotyledonous plants which include all cereal crops.