Arabidopsis accessions are either winter-annuals, which require cold winter temperatures for spring flowering, or rapid-cycling summer annuals. Typically, winter annual accessions have functional FRIGIDA (FRI) and FRIGIDA-LIKE 1 (FRL1) proteins that promote high expression of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), which prevents flowering until after winter. In contrast, many rapid-cycling accessions have low FLC levels because FRI is inactive. Using biochemical, functional and bioinformatic approaches, we show that FRI and FRL1 contain a stable, central domain that is conserved across the FRI superfamily. This core domain is monomeric in solution and primarily alpha-helical. We analysed the ability of several FRI deletion constructs to function in Arabidopsis plants. Our findings suggest that the C-terminus, which is predicted to be disordered, is required for FRI to promote FLC expression and may mediate proteinprotein interactions. The contribution of the FRI N-terminus appears to be limited, as constructs missing these residues retained significant activity when expressed at high levels. The important N- and C-terminal regions differ between members of the FRI superfamily and sequence analysis identified five FRI families with distinct expression patterns in Arabidopsis, suggesting the families have separate biological roles.