Physiological and ecological characteristics of sun and shade leaves have been compared in detail, but their developmental processes, in particular their light sensory mechanisms, are still unknown. This study compares the development of sun and shade leaves of Chenopodium album L., paying special attention to the light sensory site. We hypothesized that mature leaves sense the light environment, and that this information determines anatomy of new leaves. To examine this hypothesis, we shaded plants partially. In the low-light apex treatment (LA), the shoot apex with developing leaves was covered by a cap made of a shading screen and received photosynthetically active photon flux density (PPFD) of 60 micromol m(-2 )s(-1), while the remaining mature leaves were exposed to 360 micromol m(-2 )s(-1). In the high-light apex treatment (HA), the apex was exposed while the mature leaves were covered by a shade screen. After these treatments for 6 d, we analyzed leaf anatomy and chloroplast ultrastructure. The anatomy of LA leaves with a two-layered palisade tissue was similar to that of sun leaves, while their chloroplasts were shade-type with thick grana. The anatomy of HA leaves and shade leaves was similar and both had one-layered palisade tissue, while chloroplasts of HA leaves were sun-type having thin grana. These results clearly demonstrate that new leaves differentiate depending on the light environment of mature leaves, while chloroplasts differentiate depending on the local light environment.