The autonomous pathway functions to promote flowering in Arabidopsis by limiting the accumulation of the floral repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Within this pathway FCA is a plant-specific, nuclear RNA-binding protein, which interacts with FY, a highly conserved eukaryotic polyadenylation factor. FCA and FY function to control polyadenylation site choice during processing of the FCA transcript. Null mutations in the yeast FY homologue Pfs2p are lethal. This raises the question as to whether these essential RNA processing functions are conserved in plants. Characterisation of an allelic series of fy mutations reveals that null alleles are embryo lethal. Furthermore, silencing of FY, but not FCA, is deleterious to growth in Nicotiana. The late-flowering fy alleles are hypomorphic and indicate a requirement for both intact FY WD repeats and the C-terminal domain in repression of FLC. The FY C-terminal domain binds FCA and in vitro assays demonstrate a requirement for both C-terminal FY-PPLPP repeats during this interaction. The expression domain of FY supports its roles in essential and flowering-time functions. Hence, FY may mediate both regulated and constitutive RNA 3'-end processing.