The biosynthetic pathways to abscisic acid (ABA) were investigated by feeding [1-(13)C]-D-glucose to cuttings from young tulip tree shoots and to two ABA-producing phytopathogenic fungi. 13C-NMR spectra of the ABA samples isolated showed that the carbons at 1, 5, 6, 4', 7' and 9' of ABA from the tulip tree were labeled with 13C, while the carbons at 2, 4, 6, 1', 3', 5', 7', 8' and 9' of ABA from the fungi were labeled with 13C. The former corresponds to C-1 and -5 of isopentenyl pyrophosphate, and the latter to C-2, -4 and -5 of isopentenyl pyrophosphate. This finding reveals that ABA was biosynthesized by the non-mevalonate pathway in the plant, and by the mevalonate pathway in the fungi. 13C-Labeled beta-carotene from the tulip tree showed that the positions of the labeled carbons were the same as those of ABA, being consistent with the biosynthesis of ABA via carotenoids. Lipiferolide of the tulip tree was also biosynthesized by the non-mevalonate pathway.