We have used fluorescent, confocal laser and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to examine cellular organisations, including callose (1,3-β-glucan) behaviour, in meiotic and early post-meiotic rice anthers. These features are critical for pollen formation and provide information to better understand pollen sterility caused by abiotic stress in rice and other monocotyledonous species. Among organelles during meiosis, abundant plastids, mitochondria and nuclei of the anther cells show distinctive features. Chloroplasts in the endothecium store starch and indicate a potential for photosynthetic activity. During meiosis, the middle layer cells are markedly compressed and at the tetrad stage are either vacuolated or filled with degenerating electron-opaque organelles. Viable mitochondria, stained with Rhodamine 123, are seen in the endothecium and tapetum, but the mitochondria in the middle layer are not stained during meiosis. The radial walls of the tapetum are disorganised and degenerating, indicating the formation of a syncytium; pro-orbicules are located at the locular walls at the tetrad stage. Immunohistochemical studies show that the sporogenous cells are entirely enveloped by a thick callosic layer at early meiosis. Cell plate callose was assembled in a plane between the dyad cells. In the tetrads, however, callose formed only at the centre, showing that the tetrad microspores are not enveloped but separated by callose walls. Thick, undulating electron-opaque walls around the tetrads indicate the beginning of exinous microspore wall differentiation.