The Arabidopsis gene FCA encodes an RNA binding protein that functions to promote the floral transition. The FCA transcript is alternatively processed to yield four transcripts, the most abundant of which is polyadenylated within intron 3. We have analyzed the role of the alternative processing on the floral transition. The introduction of FCA intronless transgenes resulted in increased FCA protein levels and accelerated flowering, but no role in flowering was found for products of the shorter transcripts. The consequences of the alternative processing on the FCA expression pattern were determined using a series of translational FCA-beta-glucuronidase fusions. The inclusion of FCA genomic sequence containing the alternatively processed intron 3 restricted the expression of the transgene predominantly to shoot and root apices and young flower buds. Expression of this fusion also was delayed developmentally. Therefore, the alternative processing of the FCA transcript limits, both spatially and temporally, the amount of functional FCA protein. Expression in roots prompted an analysis of root development, which indicated that FCA functions more generally than in the control of the floral transition.