This study, quantifying variation in flower and pod production in lentil (Lens culinaris), aimed to answer the question: Will selection for more pods per inflorescence increase seed yield? In Season 1 (1992–93) all open flowers were tracked to maturity in a field experiment with two lentil genotypes sown on two dates. Genotype Talia 2 had a higher rate of flower abortion than pod abortion, in contrast to genotype ILL 2581 which showed the reverse. Flower abortion accounted for 15% of flowers opened in early sowing and increased to 22% in the late sowing. Pod abortion was 19% (of flowers opened) in early sowing and 23% in the late sowing. These are the first quantitative estimates of flower and pod abortion in lentil. From the data, a rapid sampling method was developed to estimate the average number of pods per inflorescence at maturity. In Season 2 (1993–94) an experiment was conducted at two locations to estimate the average number of pods per inflorescence of 81 genotypes and to relate this to seed yield. Although the broad-sense heritability (h2) of the number of pods per inflorescence was 0.68 and its phenotypic correlation with seed yield was r = 0.71, the highest-yielding genotypes were not those with the most pods per inflorescence. Selection for the number of pods per inflorescence cannot be recommended for increasing seed yield in lentil.