Flowers developing on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) plants homozygous for the lateral suppressor (ls) mutation lack petals. Scanning electron micrographs revealed that in ls plants no second whorl organs were initiated. The initiation of first, third, and fourth whorl organs were unaffected by this mutation. To investigate interactions between the cells in different layers of the floral meristem during organ initiation, a periclinal chimera between wild-type and ls tomato was generated. Flowers of the chimera having ls cells in the outer meristem layer (L1) and wild-type cells in internal layers (L2 and L3) developed normally, including the initiation of organ primordia that differentiated as petals in normal positions within the second whorl. L1 of the chimera developed in a non-autonomous manner during petal development. Thus, wild-type cells occupying the internal meristem layers provided developmental cues necessary for initiation of petal primordia at appropriate positions on the floral meristem. L1 cells carrying the lateral suppressor mutation were fully capable of responding to this information and differentiated appropriately.