Mediator is a multiprotein complex that regulates transcription at the level of RNA pol II assembly, as well as through regulation of chromatin architecture, RNA processing and recruitment of epigenetic marks. Though its modular structure is conserved in eukaryotes, its subunit composition has diverged during evolution and varies in response to environmental and tissue-specific inputs, suggesting different functions for each subunit and/or Mediator conformation. In animals, Mediator has been implicated in the control of differentiation and morphogenesis through modulation of numerous signaling pathways. In plants, studies have revealed roles for Mediator in regulation of cell division, cell fate and organogenesis, as well as developmental timing and hormone responses. We begin this review with an overview of biochemical mechanisms of yeast and animal Mediator that are likely to be conserved in all eukaryotes, as well as a brief discussion of the role of Mediator in animal development. We then present a comprehensive review of studies of the role of Mediator in plant development. Finally, we point to important questions for future research on the role of Mediator as a master coordinator of development.