Isolation of a nuclear recessive mutation (lam-1) blocking initiation of the lamina in leaves of Nicotiana sylvestris Speg. et Comes is described. Histological analysis of the mutant apex demonstrates a defect in establishment of meristematic activity along the margins of emerging primordia, the earliest cytological event in lamina formation. Mutant leaves grow to their normal length (about 30 cm) but fail to expand. Transverse sections show that mutant leaves are essentially naked midribs, lacking the characteristic cell types of the wild-type mesophyll. In the absence of lateral expansion, all secondary veins develop along the longitudinal axis, producing abnormal parallel venation. The mutant is defective in phase transition and grows indefinitely as a juvenile vegetative rosette. Exogenous gibberellic acid induces rapid stem elongation and flowering, but does not correct the lamina defect, indicating that juvenile arrest is a pleiotropic consequence of a gibberellin deficiency in bladeless leaves. The calyx, corolla and gynoecium in mutant flowers show defects in lateral development, indicating that the lam-1 gene plays a crucial role in development of floral organs as well as leaves.