A plant has a great excess of buds each with the potential of developing an entire shoot system. The general question tackled was to what extent shoot size and time of bud development are important for bud hierarchy. Pea seedlings with two shoots, which were either equal or unequal in size, were obtained by the early removal of the seminal shoot. When these two shoots were also removed, one of the two cotyledon buds next to the bases of the shoots developed into the new shoot system. The determination of which of the buds became dominant was studied as a function of the relative sizes of the two primary cotyledonary shoots, of differences in the timing of the removal of these shoots and of the size of the buds. The bud that became dominant was not necessarily the larger one, nor did it always emerge from the axil of the larger shoot. Instead, it was usually the bud that was inhibited for a shorter period by the shoot next to it. It is suggested that the fate of a bud is predominantly determined by developmental parameters, for example lime of release, which are correlated with its developmental status and not necessarily with its physical size or with the past development of its shoot.