The role of cell cycle regulation and cell division in plant growth and organ development is controversial. Some experimental data are most easily interpreted from the 'cellular perspective' that cell division drives growth, whereas other observations are more consistent with the 'organismal perspective' that cell division is merely a consequence of growth, and to a large extent facultative. Here we develop a model of cell cycle regulation in the context of leaf development based on literature, published kinematic analysis, flow-cytometric and transcriptomic data obtained from growing Arabidopsis leaves. We tested this model by comparing the in silico inhibition of the cell cycle progression with the experimental observations of transgenic plants overexpressing the cell cycle inhibitor Arath;KRP2. The model simulates the behaviour of proliferating cells quite well, but is inadequate in describing the effects on expanding cells. This may point to a difference in the nature of the expansion process during the proliferating and non-dividing phase of leaf development.