Seed germination depends on light in many plants. But not always: Aethionema arabicum, a plant adapted to challenging environmental conditions, does it its own way. Here, the phytochromes, the receptors for red and far-red light, play an unexpected role in seed germination and time this process to the optimal season. These findings, now published in “Plant Physiology”, are a compelling example of the evolutionary rewiring of signaling modules that help plants adapt to their habitats. The study was led by researchers at the Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology (GMI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.