Plants represent alternative or secondary hosts for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), enabling transmission of the pathogens through the food chain on horticultural crops. This becomes a public health concern for plants that are eaten raw or minimally processed, such as leafy salad and fruits. STEC actively interact with plants as hosts, and so to determine the mechanistic basis to the interaction, it is necessary to assess STEC gene function in planta. Here, we describe analysis of an STEC biofilm component, curli, that plays a role in STEC colony formation in plant leaves. It also serves as a suitable example of the approaches required for qualitative and quantitative assessment of functional host colonization traits.