The effects of various exogenous auxins and polar auxin transport inhibitors on somatic embryogenesis in carrot cultures were investigated. Indole-3-acetic acid and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid do not disrupt the sequence or the polarity of individual stages in embryo development, but tend to cause developing embryos to revert to undifferentiated callus, with increasing frequency in later embryo stages. The transport inhibitors, N-(1-naphthyl)phthalamic acid and 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid, block morphological transitions to the subsequent stage; for example, they cause the formation of enlarged globular and oblong embryos. Heart embryos in these treatments usually develop additional lateral growth axes. These results shed light on the role of auxin and its polar transport in somatic embryogenesis.