The classification of human placental villi was reviewed on the basis of material prepared by means of special methods. The material from in situ normal-term placentae was biopsied by aspiration into glutaraldehyde. The classification was made on the basis of light-microscopic observations of semithin sections, reconstructions from serial sections, and scanning-electron micrographs. The peripheral villous tree is roughly divided into stem (ramuli), intermediate and terminal villi. The intermediate villi may be further subdivided as mature and immature types, which are found between the stem and terminal villi. Some of the terminal villi possess a local specialization described as the neck region. The histological characteristics and the branching pattern of each type are described, and the basis of the proposed classification is discussed.