Abstract BN nanotubes, displaying the characteristics of few concentric layers (2–6 layers) but unusual large inner diameters (ranging from 8 to more than 10 nm), are synthesized by a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method on α-Al 2O 3 micrometer-range particles. The inner diameters are at least 5 nm larger than the previously reported BN nanotubes of similar layers. Some BN nanotubes are observed to be filled with B–N–O-based amorphous materials. Crystalline core fillings (in the form of boron carbide nanorods) were also discovered. The discussions suggested that the CVD growth behavior of BN nanotubes may be closely dependent on the underlying substrates, which may be helpful to the possible rational synthesis of BN nanotubes.