Plant cell walls are constructed from a diversity of polysaccharide components. Molecular probes directed to structural elements of these polymers are required to assay polysaccharide structures in situ, and to determine polymer roles in the context of cell wall biology. Here, we report on the isolation and the characterization of three rat monoclonal antibodies that are directed to 1,5-linked arabinans and related polymers. LM13, LM16 and LM17, together with LM6, constitute a set of antibodies that can detect differing aspects of arabinan structures within cell walls. Each of these antibodies binds strongly to isolated sugar beet arabinan samples in ELISAs. Competitive-inhibition ELISAs indicate the antibodies bind differentially to arabinans with the binding of LM6 and LM17 being effectively inhibited by short oligoarabinosides. LM13 binds preferentially to longer oligoarabinosides, and its binding is highly sensitive to arabinanase action, indicating the recognition of a longer linearized arabinan epitope. In contrast, the binding of LM16 to branched arabinan and to cell walls is increased by arabinofuranosidase action. The presence of all epitopes can be differentially modulated in vitro using glycoside hydrolase family 43 and family 51 arabinofuranosidases. In addition, the LM16 epitope is sensitive to the action of beta-galactosidase. Immunofluorescence microscopy indicates that the antibodies can be used to detect epitopes in cell walls, and that the four antibodies reveal complex patterns of epitope occurrence that vary between organs and species, and relate both to the probable processing of arabinan structural elements and the differing mechanical properties of cell walls.