Immunohistochemical localization of type I and type II collagens was examined in the rat mandibular condylar cartilage (as the secondary cartilage) and compared with that in the tibial growth plate (as the primary cartilage) using plastic embedded tissues. In the condylar cartilage, type I collagen was present not only in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the fibrous, proliferative, and transitional cell layers, but also in the ECM of the maturative and hypertrophic cell layers. Type II collagen was present in the ECM of the maturative and hypertrophic cell layers. In the growth plate, type II collagen was present in the ECM of whole cartilaginous layers; type I collagen was not present in the cartilage but in the perichondrium and the bone matrices. These results indicate that differences exist in the components of the ECM between the primary and secondary cartilages. It is suggested that these two tissues differ in the developmental processes and/or in the reactions to their own local functional needs.