Ribosomal proteins are integral to ribosome biogenesis, and function in protein synthesis. In higher eukaryotes, loss of cytoplasmic ribosomal proteins results in a reduced growth rate as well as developmental defects. To what extent and how ribosomal proteins affect development is currently not known. Here we describe a semi-dominant mutation in the cytoplasmic ribosomal protein gene RPL27aC that affects multiple aspects of plant shoot development, including leaf patterning, inflorescence and floral meristem function, and seed set. In the embryo, RPL27aC is required to maintain the growth rate and for the transition from radial to bilateral symmetry associated with initiation of cotyledons. rpl27ac-1d embryos undergo stereotypical patterning to establish a globular embryo. However, a temporal delay in initiation and outgrowth of cotyledon primordia leads to development of an enlarged globular embryo prior to apical domain patterning. Defects in embryo development are coincident with tissue-specific ectopic expression of the shoot meristem genes SHOOT MERISTEMLESS (STM) and CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON2 (CUC2), in addition to delayed expression of the abaxial gene FILAMENTOUS FLOWER (FIL) and mis-regulation of the auxin efflux effector PIN-FORMED1 (PIN1). Genetic interactions with other ribosomal protein mutants indicate that RPL27aC is a component of the ribosome. We propose that RPL27aC regulates discrete developmental events by controlling spatial and temporal expression of developmental patterning genes via an as yet undefined process involving the ribosome.