During long-bone growth, proliferative chondrocytes in the growth plate cartilage form clonal columns of discoid cells, which enlarge to form the hypertrophic chondrocytes that make bone. But what regulates column formation,and is this columnar organisation crucial for bone morphogenesis? On p.1083, Li and Dudley investigate these questions and, for the first time, implicate a planar cell polarity (PCP)-like pathway in the regulation of bone morphogenesis. They show that the plane of cell division in proliferative chondrocytes in chick long bones is orthogonal to the direction of growth and that the resultant daughter cells, which are initially displaced laterally, intercalate to form a single column of cells. Both the division plane and orientation of the chondrocytes depend on β-catenin-independent, noncanonical Wnt/frizzled signalling,and the disruption of this signalling pathway produces abnormally short and thick long bones. Thus, by regulating the cell polarity of growth plate chondrocytes, noncanonical frizzled signalling (probably via a PCP-like pathway) plays a crucial role in bone morphogenesis.