A highly efficient somatic embryo production and maturation procedure has been developed to regenerate plantlets from cotton ( Gossypium hirsutum). This procedure involves the acceleration of differentiation through manipulations of nutrient and microenvironment conditions. Embryogenic calli, initiated from hypocotyls or cotyledonary leaf sections on MS medium containing 0.1 mg/l 2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, 0.5 mg/l kinetin, and 3% maltose produced globular-stage somatic embryos when transferred to hormone-free MS medium supplemented with high concentrations of nitrate. Subculture of globular embryos on hormone-free MS medium led to the development of torpedo- and cotyledonary-stage at a low frequency (two to four per plate) with the majority of embryos lacking further growth or entering into the dedifferentiation stage. Significant improvement in embryogenesis (two- to threefold) was achieved when calli were cultured on 1/5-strength MS medium irrespective of stress treatment. However, the frequency of globular embryos developing into normal plantlets improved considerably (20-24 per plate) when cultured on filter paper placed on MS medium. In this procedure, about 33% of globular embryos not only developed into the cotyledonary stage but rooted simultaneously, eliminating a separate rooting step. More than 70% of cotyledonary embryos developed into normal plantlets when cultured on full- strength MS medium containing 0.05 mg/l gibberellic acid.