Cortical actin filament (AF) organization was studied in detail in developing stomatal complexes of the grasses Zea mays and Triticum turgidum. AF arrays during the whole stomatal complex development are dynamic, partly following the pattern of cortical microtubule (MT) organization. They also exhibit particular patterns of organization, spatially and temporarily restricted. Among AF arrays, the radial ones that underlie young guard cell (GC) periclinal walls, those that line the bulbous GC ends and the AF ring at the junction between subsidiary cells (SCs) and GCs are described here for the first time. Although many similarities in cortical AF organization exist among the stomatal cells of both plants studied, considerable differences have also been observed between them. Our data reveal that the expanding areas of stomatal cell walls are lined by distinct cortical AF aggregations that probably protect the plasmalemma against mechanical stresses. Experimental AF disruption does not seem to affect detectably stomatal cell morphogenesis. Moreover, the structural and experimental data of this study revealed that, in contrast to the elliptical stomata, in the dumbbell-shaped ones the AFs and MTs seem not to be involved in the mechanism of opening and closing of the stomatal pore. Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.