Bulb scale and inflorescence explants of Urginea indica Kunth. (2n=20) were cultured in vitro on modified Murashige & Skoog's medium with different hormonal composition. Media containing 2,4-dichlorophenoxy-acetic acid (2,4-D) (2 and 4 mgl-1) and α-naphthalene-acetic acid (NAA) (2 mgl-1) could induce callus in inflorescence explants. Combination of 2,4-D (4 mgl-1) + NAA (2 mgl-1) + Kinetin (2 mgl-1) only could induce callus formation in scale explants. The bulb scale explants contained mostly diploid cells while the inflorescence explants contained cells with nuclear DNA content ranging from 2C to 64C. The lowest karyological heterogeneity was recorded in callus derived from bulb scale and in callus derived from inflorescence induced with NAA. The highest variability was recorded on media with 2,4-D alone. Induction of division, probably of the pre-existing polytenic nuclei in the inflorescence explant, has been suggested to be the cause of origin of polyploid cells in such cases. © 1990 Kluwer Academic Publishers.