The structure of boron nitride bamboo-like tubular whiskers grown from boron nitride powder is investigated by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. Despite the relatively small size of the tubes (20-200 nm in diameter), they all exhibit rhombohedral-like ordering in their layer stacking. The tubular sheets also tend to have their [101̄0] direction parallel to the fibre axis. Particles of iron alloys are commonly found encapsulated inside or at the end of the filaments. It is suggested that iron plays an active role in the growth of the fibres.