A possible role of abscisic acid (ABA) in the regulation of grain set in water-stressed wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was investigated using a split root system to dry half the roots while the remainder were kept watered. Water uptake by the wet roots maintained the leaf water potential at the normal level, whereas the ABA produced in the dry roots was transported to the spike. This caused the spikelet ABA level to increase to the same extent as when the entire root system was stressed to permit a drop in the leaf water potential. In spite of this, the former treatment did not induce a reduction in grain set, whereas the latter did. Thus, contrary to previous reports, water stress-induced changes in spikelet ABA level alone do not appear to regulate grain set.