The development of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) corollas is accompanied by the accumulation of chromoplasts. In mature corollas, chromoplasts, but no chloroplasts, were detected by electron microscopy. Chlorophyll was also undetectable in corollas at anthesis. The contents of carotenoids and a carotenoid-associated, chromoplast-specific, 35-kD protein in corollas increased in parallel with flower development, peaking concomitantly at anthesis. The involvement of phytohormones and light in the regulation of their expression was studied. When gibberellin A3 (GA3) was added to an in vitro bud culture system, accumulation of both carotenoids and the 35-kD protein was markedly enhanced. The specific up-regulation of the 35-kD protein was very rapid: after only 2 h of culture, increased levels were detected in GA3-treated versus untreated corollas. During this period, corolla fresh weight and total protein and carotenoid contents remained unchanged. Inclusion of abscisic acid in the culture medium counteracted the effect of GA3. Accumulation of the 35-kD protein was also enhanced when flower buds on plants were sprayed with GA3 or etiolated.