Development in higher plants is characterized by the reiterative formation of lateral organs from the flanks of shoot apical meristems. Because organs are produced continuously throughout the life cycle, the shoot apical meristem must maintain a pluripotent stem cell population. These two tasks are accomplished within separate functional domains of the apical meristem. These functional domains develop gradually during embryogenesis. Subsequently, communication among cells within the shoot apical meristem and between the shoot apical meristem and the incipient lateral organs is needed to maintain the functional domains within the shoot apical meristem.