Abstract The lipids in callus cultures of Hydnocarpus anthelminthica were studied after 60, 160 and 460 days of growth. In each of the cultures the lipid classes usually found in plant tissue cultures were detected. With increasing age of the cultures the total lipid content as well as the proportions of triglycerides decreased. The major constituent fatty acids of the total lipids were palmitic and linoleic acids. Small amounts of cyclopentenyl fatty acids were also present. The proportions of saturated straight-chain fatty acids increased with the age of the cultures whereas the proportions of monounsaturated straight-chain fatty acids decreased. Only small changes were observed with polyunsaturated fatty acids. The content of cyclopentenyl fatty acids rose with the age of the cultures. The monounsaturated straight-chain fatty acids consisted of mixtures of isomers whose composition changed with the age of the cultures. In contrast, the polyunsaturated straight-chain fatty acids belonged exclusively to the Δ9 series, regardless of the age of the cultures.