State-of-the-art optical remote sensing of vegetation canopies is reviewed here to stimulate support from laboratory and ﬁeld plant research. This overview of recent satellite spectral sensors and the methods used to retrieve remotely quantitative biophysical and biochemical characteristics of vegetation canopies shows that there have been substantial advances in optical remote sensing over the past few decades. Nevertheless, adaptation and transfer of currently available ﬂuorometric methods aboard air- and space-borne platforms can help to eliminate errors and uncertainties in recent remote sensing data interpretation. With this perspective, red and blue-green ﬂuorescence emission as measured in the laboratory and ﬁeld is reviewed. Remotely sensed plant ﬂuorescence signals have the potential to facilitate a better understanding of vegetation photosynthetic dynamics and primary production on a large scale. The review summarizes several scientiﬁc challenges that still need to be resolved to achieve operational ﬂuorescence based remote sensing approaches.