While many regulatory mechanisms controlling the development and function of root and shoot apical meristems have been revealed, our knowledge of similar processes in lateral meristems, including the vascular cambium, is still limited. Our understanding of even the anatomy and development of lateral meristems (procambium or vascular cambium) is still relatively incomplete, let alone their genetic regulation. Research into this particular tissue type has been mostly hindered by a lack of suitable molecular markers, as well as the fact that thus far very few mutants affecting plant secondary development have been described. The development of suitable molecular markers is a high priority in order to help define the anatomy, especially the location and identity of cambial stem cells and the developmental phases and molecular regulatory mechanisms of the cambial zone. To date, most of the advances have been obtained by studying the role of the major plant hormones in vascular development. Thus far auxin, cytokinin, gibberellin and ethylene have been implicated in regulating the maintenance and activity of cambial stem cells; the most logical question in research would be how these hormones interact during the various phases of cambial development.