The rate and efficiency of photosynthesis (PS) is unquestionably one of the primary determinants of crop yield. Yet, as this symposium illustrates, many other factors contribute to plant productivity. Indeed, the exact relationship between PS rate and yield remains undefined. For several years we have now been interested in factors that affect PS rate in both C3 and C4 plants, not only within the plant, but also external to it. Internal factors affecting PS that will be discussed include leaf age, leaf canopy, photorespiration, stage of plant development (including both vegetative and reproductive phases), and the occurrence of little-recognized metabolic pathways such as polyol synthesis and transport. External factors that affect PS, in addition to obvious environmental determinants such as temperature, light, and water, include the seasonal growth cycle. While we still do not understand how all of these factors interact to affect yield, we are beginning to understand their singular effects. Control of these factors, once thought to be within reach even before the advent of biotechnology, remains likely, but distant.