Immunofluorescence staining with antisera raised against p35, a basic nuclear protein that accumulates in the pollen nuclei of Lilium longiflorum, specifically stained the nucleoli in interphase nuclei of somatic tissues, including root and leaf, and in pachytene nuclei during meiotic division, whereas antisera raised against histone H1 uniformly stained the entire chromatin domain with the exception of the nucleoli in these nuclei. Further, p35-specific antisera stained the nucleoli in root and leaf nuclei of the monocotyledonous plants Tulipa gesneriana, Allium cepa and Triticum aestivum and of the dicotyledonous plants Vicia faba and Nicotiana tabacum. Thus, these novel antisera stained the nucleoli in cells of all higher plants examined, although the staining patterns within nucleoli were somewhat different among plant species and tissues. The full-length cDNA of p35 was cloned on the basis of the partial amino acid sequence. The deduced amino acid composition and amino acid sequence of p35 indicate that this nucleolar protein is a novel variant of histone Hl. Further, p35 was strongly bound to ribosomal DNA in vitro. The results of immunoblotting of histones extracted from each tissue of the various plant species with the nucleolus-specific antibodies also suggested the conservation of similar epitope(s) in both mono- and dicotyledonous plants. From these results, it is suggested that similar variants of histone Hl are specifically distributed in the nucleoli of all plant species and help to organize the nucleolar chromatin.