At the heart of meiosis is crossover recombination, i.e., reciprocal exchange of chromosome fragments between parental genomes. Surprisingly, in most eukaryotes, including plants, several recombination pathways that can result in crossover event operate in parallel during meiosis. These pathways emerged independently in the course of evolution and perform separate functions, which directly translate into their roles in meiosis. The formation of one crossover per chromosome pair is required for proper chromosome segregation. This “obligate” crossover is ensured by the major crossover pathway in plants, and in many other eukaryotes, known as the ZMM pathway. The secondary pathways play important roles also in somatic cells and function mainly as repair mechanisms for DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) not used for crossover formation. One of the consequences of the functional differences between ZMM and other DSB repair pathways is their distinct sensitivities to polymorphisms between homologous chromosomes. From a population genetics perspective, these differences may affect the maintenance of genetic variability. This might be of special importance when considering that a significant portion of plants uses inbreeding as a predominant reproductive strategy, which results in loss of interhomolog polymorphism. While we are still far from fully understanding the relationship between meiotic recombination pathways and genetic variation in populations, recent studies of crossovers in plants offer a new perspective.