The role of maternally derived abscisic acid (ABA) during seed development has been studied using ABA-deficient mutants of Nicotiana plumbaginifolia Viviani. ABA deficiency induced seed abortion, resulting in reduced seed yield, and delayed growth of the remaining embryos. Mutant grafting onto wild-type stocks and reciprocal crosses indicated that maternal ABA, synthesized in maternal vegetative tissues and translocated to the seed, promoted early seed development and growth. Moreover ABA deficiency delayed both seed coat pigmentation and capsule dehiscence. Mutant grafting did not restore these phenotypes, indicating that ABA synthesized in the seed coat and capsule envelope may have a positive effect on capsule and testa maturation. Together these results shed light on the positive role of maternal ABA during N. plumbaginifolia seed development.