The ability of seeds to withstand dehydration indicates that their membranes may maintain structural integrity even when dry. Analysis of polar lipids (the principal lipidic constituents of the membranes) from soybean seeds (Glycine-max (L.) Merr.) by X-ray diffraction indicated that even in the dehydrated state the lipids retained a lamellar (bilayer) configuration. As the degree of hydration was raised, evidence of some structural alteration (apparent as an abrupt increase in bilayer spacing) was obtained from diffraction patterns of both the extracted lipid and particles of seed tissue. In seed tissue this increase in bilayer spacing occurred at a hydration level just above that at which free water could be detected by nuclear-magnetic-resonance analysis. The water content at which the increase in bilayer spacing occurred was higher in the seed tissue than in the extracted polar lipids, probably because other cell components restricted the availability of free water in the seed.