Direct visualization of plant tissues by matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) has revealed key insights into the localization of metabolites in situ. Recent efforts have determined the spatial distribution of primary and secondary metabolites in plant tissues and cells. Strategies have been applied in many areas of metabolism including isotope flux analyses, plant interactions, and transcriptional regulation of metabolite accumulation. Technological advances have pushed achievable spatial resolution to subcellular levels and increased instrument sensitivity by several orders of magnitude. It is anticipated that MALDI-MSI and other MSI approaches will bring a new level of understanding to metabolomics as scientists will be encouraged to consider spatial heterogeneity of metabolites in descriptions of metabolic pathway regulation.