Not only inhibitory afferent-dominant zone (IZ) of the ventral anterior-ventral lateral thalamic complex (VA-VL) but also the ventral medial nucleus (VM) is known to receive strong inputs from the basal ganglia and send axons to motor areas. We previously reported differences in axonal arborization between IZ neurons and the other VA-VL neurons in rats by single-neuron tracing with viral vectors. In the present study, the axonal arborization of single VM neurons was visualized by the same method, and compared with that of IZ neurons. VM neurons formed fewer axon collaterals in the striatum, but sent axon fibers more widely and more preferentially (79% of fibers) to layer 1 of cortical areas than IZ neurons. Furthermore, the VM seemed to contain at least 2 types of neurons; a major population of VM neurons sent axon fibers principally to motor-associated areas as VA-VL neurons did, and the other population projected mainly to orbital or cingulate areas. Although both VM and IZ neurons receive strong basal ganglia inputs, these results suggest that VM neurons, at a single neuron level, innervate the apical dendrites of cortical pyramidal neurons more intensely and more widely than IZ neurons. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com.