The performance of dye sensitized solar cells is mainly based on the dye as a sensitizer. Natural dyes have become a viable alternative to expensive and rare organic sensitizers because of its low cost, easy attainability, abundance in supply of raw materials and no environment threat. Various components of a plant such as the flower petals, leaves and bark have been tested as sensitizers. The nature of these pigments together with other parameters has resulted in varying performance. This review briefly discusses the emergence, operation and components of dye sensitized solar cells together with the work done on natural dye based dye sensitized solar cells over the years. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.