Flowering time mutants represent genetic functions in control of the floral transition, an important developmental phase switch in the life cycle of higher plants. Many such mutants have been identified and characterized, particular in Arabidopsis. Here we describe the identification and initial characterization of a new early flowering mutant of Arabidopsis. The corresponding gene, SVP (SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE), was cloned through transposon tagging and represents a new member of the MADS-box gene family of transcription factors. Analysis of its transcriptional activity revealed the presence of differently sized transcripts that were confined to vegetative tissues and floral primordia and absent from developed flowers and siliques. The function of SVP as a repressor of the floral transition is discussed.