The ultrastructure of the cotton fibres was examined after developing successful fixation methods. Fibre cells were fixed at different stages of development. In cells which were elongating and producing primary cell walls, the Golgi apparatus appeared to be directly involved in secretion and synthesis of primary wall components. In cells which were synthesizing thick secondary cell walls, evidence suggested a major role for the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma memebrane in the synthesis and secretion of secondary wall materials. The possibility of a shift from a Golgi apparatus pathway for primary wall synthesis to an endoplasmic reticulum pathway for secondary wall synthesis is discussed. Plasma membrane micro-invaginations are present only during secondary wall synthesis and may represent sites of cellulose assembly. A model for primary wall biogenesis via the Golgi apparatus is presented, and the potential of the cotton fibre as a model system for studying cellulose biogenesis in higher plants is discussed.