Results are reported which support the view that the photosynthetic photosystems are not involved in the high irradiance response (HIR) phenomenon of light-dependent anthocyanin biosynthesis in dark-grown Zea mays L. seedlings. A negative correlation between change in greening rates and change in light-dependent anthocyanin accumulation rates with age was demonstrated. Lack of chlorophyll synthesis in a strain of maize possessing a temperature-sensitive lesion for chlorophyll synthesis could not be correlated with light-induced anthocyanin accumulation. Furthermore, seedlings totally lacking photosynthetic capabilities, either due to a genetic lesion or to excision of all photosynthetic tissue, had an enhanced rate of photoinduced anthocyanin formation. This evidence indicates that the HIR results in the initiation of processes that are in competition with chloroplast development for substrate in normal, intact seedlings.