Serial thick sections of guard cells from Vicia faba L., Nicotiana tabacum L., Allium cepa L., Zea mays L. and Beta vulgaris L. were obtained systematically (600-800 nm) and viewed with the transmission electron microscope in an effort to demonstrate the presence or absence of a symplastic transport pathway within the stomatal complex. Eight to ten stomata from each species were examined, and no continuous plasmodesmata were found connecting guard cells to sister guard cells or to adjacent epidermal or subsidiary cells. Continuous plasmodesmata were observed in immature guard cells, but were sealed (truncated) during the development of the mature cell wall. Histochemical stains, phosphotungstic acid and silver methenamine, were used to demonstrate differentiation within the mature guard-cell wall. The structural differentiation of the stomatal apoplastic region is discussed in relation to fanctional specialization. Plasma-membrane elaborations or plasmalemmasomes were identified in the guard cells of Zea, and it is suggested that these structures may function in ion transport.