In the last decade strigolactones have been recognized as a novel type of plant hormones. They are involved in the control of key developmental processes such as lateral shoot outgrowth and leaf and root development, among others. In addition, strigolactones modulate plant responses to abiotic stresses like phosphate starvation and drought. Here we summarize the current knowledge of the widely conserved functions of strigolactones in the control of plant development and stress responses as well as some of their reported species-specific roles. In addition, we will review their known genetic and functional interactions with other phytohormones. The newly discovered activities of strigolactones as plant hormones raise the possibility of using these compounds and their signalling pathways as tools to optimise species of agronomical importance.