the secreory cavities in fruits of schinus terebinthifolius raddi were studied by optical and electron microscopy. these are complex cavities with a multistratified epithelium, surrounding a lumen filled with whole cells and viscous fluid. each cavity is surrounded by two or three layers, radially flattened cells, which will progressively mature into epithelial cells. the secretory cavities initiate schizogenously and develop schizolysigenously. the lumen appears by the dissolution of the middle lamela in a group of precursor cells arranged in a rosette, and widens by the separation of the inner cells of this rosette. the young epithelial cells have dense cytoplasm with large mitochondria, extensive rough endoplasmic reticulum, numerous multivesicular bodies, and modified plastids. clumps of electron-dense material without a delimiting membrane occur the peripheral cytoplasm, periplasmic space, and scattered in the cavity lumen. as differentiation progresses, the innermost epithelial cells are continuously released into the lumen and degenerate. lysigeny of these cells contributes with materials to secretion, also leading to cavity enlargement. optical and ultastructural data indicate that secretion elimination occurs by ecrine and holocrine mechanisms.