Although thalamic projections to the dorsal striatum are well described in primates and other species, little is known about thalamic projections to the ventral or "limbic" striatum in the primate. This study explores the organization of the thalamic projections to the ventral striatum in the primate brain by means of wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) and Lucifer yellow (LY) retrograde tracer techniques. In addition, because functional and connective differences have been described for the core and shell components of the nucleus accumbens in the rat and are thought to be similar in the primate, this study also explores whether these regions of the nucleus accumbens can be distinguished by their thalamic input. Tracer injections are placed in different portions of the ventral striatum, including the medial and lateral regions of the ventral striatum; the central region of the ventral striatum, including the dorsal part of the core of the nucleus accumbens; and the shell region of the nucleus accumbens. Retrogradely labeled neurons are located mainly in the midline nuclear group (anterior and posterior paraventricular, paratenial, rhomboid, and reuniens thalamic nuclei) and in the parafascicular thalamic nucleus. Additional labeled cells are found in other portions of the intralaminar nuclear group as well as in other thalamic nuclei in the ventral, anterior, medial, lateral, and posterior thalamic nuclear groups. The distribution of labeled cells varies depending on the area of the ventral striatum injected. All regions of the ventral striatum receive strong projections from the midline thalamic nuclei and from the parafascicular nucleus. In addition, the medial region of the ventral striatum receives numerous projections from the central superior lateral nucleus, the magnocellular subdivision of the ventral anterior nucleus, and parts of the mediodorsal nucleus. After injection into the lateral region of the ventral striatum, few labeled neurons are seen scattered in nuclei of the intralaminar and ventral thalamic groups and occasional labeled cells in the mediodorsal nucleus. The central region of the ventral striatum, including the dorsal part of the core of the nucleus accumbens, receives a limited projection from the midline thalamic, predominantly from the rhomboid nucleus. It receives much smaller projections from the central medial nucleus and the ventral, anterior, and medial thalamic groups. The shell of the nucleus accumbens receives the most limited projection from the thalamus and is innervated almost exclusively by the midline thalamic nuclei and the central medial and parafascicular nuclei. The shell is distinguished from the rest of the ventral striatum in that it receives the fewest projections from the ventral, anterior, medial, and lateral thalamic nuclei.