The developmental sequences leading to the formation of mature sieve tube elements were studied in pea plants by electron microscopy. From this study it has been found that the peripheral layer of cytoplasm in the mature element is composed of flattened cisternae which are apparently derived from a tubular form of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and possibly the nuclear envelope. These flattened cisternae, designated in this report as sieve tube reticula, are attached perpendicularly to the wall surface and are oriented in a predominantly longitudinal direction. Cisternae of the sieve tube reticulum are frequently associated with the slime in mature elements, and tubular ER may be associated with slimelike material in the developing sieve tube element. During differentiation mitochondria become reduced in size and chloroplasts either fail to develop stroma and grana lamellae or lose them early in development. In agreement with other workers it is found that the sieve plate pores appear to be plugged with a finely fibrous material, presumably "slime." Nacreous wall formation is well established before reorganization of cytoplasmic components. Microtubules are prevalent during these early stages, but are lost as the element matures.

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