The embryonic chick face is composed of a series of facial primordia, epithelium-covered buds of mesenchyme, which surround the presumptive mouth. The protruding adult upper beak containing the prenasal cartilage is formed from the frontonasal mass, the paired maxillary primordia form the sides of the face, while the lower beak is derived from the paired mandibular primordia which contain the two Meckel's cartilages. When grafted to a host wing bud, the frontonasal mass and the mandibular primordia both form elongated outgrowths, whereas the maxillary primordium forms a ball of tissue. Facial epithelium is required for growth and morphogenesis of all primordia. Recombinations between epithelium and mesenchyme from different primordia show that the epithelia are interchangeable and appear to be equivalent. Even the epithelium from the maxillary primordium that does not grow out in a polarized fashion can support outgrowth of the frontonasal mass and mandibular mesenchyme. The form of the recombined graft is determined by the mesenchymal component.