In maize (Zea mays L.) and pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings, cellulose microfibril impressions are present on freeze-fractured plasma membranes. It has been proposed that impressions of newly synthesized microfibrils are a record of the movement of terminal synthesizing complexes through the plasma membrane (Mueller and Brown, 1980, J. Cell Biol. 84, 315-326). The association of terminal complexes with the ends of microfibril impressions or with the ends of microfibrils torn through the membrane indicates the orientation of microfibril tips. Unidirectionally-oriented microfibril tips (all pointing in the same direction) are associated with the organized deposition of parallel arrays of microfibrils. Multidirectionally-oriented microfibril tips were observed in a cell in which microfibril deposition was unusually disorganized. Microfibril patterns around pit fields are asymmetric and resemble flow patterns. Unidirectionally-oriented tears are associated with these microfibrils. Although microfibril orientations are deflected around pit fields, the main axis of microfibril orientation is maintained across the surface of the cell. The hypothesis is proposed that the interaction of a flowing plasma membrane with microfibril synthesizing complexes in the plane of the membrane may result in unidirectional deposition and asymmetric microfibril impressions around pit fields.