Cortical microtubules (MTs) in differentiating compression wood tracheids of Taxus cuspidata stems were visualized by confocal laser microscopy. They were oriented obliquely at an angle of about 45° to the tracheid axis during formation of the secondary wall. Artificial inclination altered the pattern of alignment of MTs. Banding MTs were helically oriented late during the formation of the secondary walls. These results indicate that MTs might control the orientation and localized deposition of cellulose microfibrils in the secondary walls of compression wood tracheids.