Metabolism of abscisic acid (ABA) was studied after wilting and upon recovery from water stress in individual, detached leaves of Phaseolus vulgaris L. (red kidney bean). Loss of turgor was correlated with accumulation of ABA and its metabolites, resulting in a 10-fold increase in the level of phaseic acid (PA) and a doubling of the level of conjugated ABA. The level of conjugated ABA in turgid leaves was no higher than that of the free acid. These results indicate that accumulation of ABA in wilted leaves resulted from a stimulation of ABA synthesis, rather than from a release from a conjugated form or from inhibition of the metabolism of ABA. The rate of synthesis of ABA was at its maximum between 2.5 and 5 h after turgor was lost, and slackened there-after. In wilted leaves, the rate of conversion of ABA to PA climbed steadly until it matched the rate of synthesis, after about 7.5 h. Upon rehydration of sections from wilted leaves, the rate of synthesis of ABA dropped close to zero within about 3 h, while the rate of conversion to PA accelerated. Formation of PA was two to four times faster than in sections maintained in the wilted condition; it reached a rate sufficient to convert almost one-half of the ABA present in the tissue to PA within 1 h. In contrast, the alternate route of metabolism of ABA, synthesis of conjugated ABA, was not stimulated by rehydration. The role of turgor in the stimulation of the conversion of ABA to PA was investigated. When leaves that had been wilted for 5 h were rehydrated to different degrees, the amount of ABA which disappeared, or that of PA which accumulated during the next 3 h, did not depend linearly on the water potential of the rehydrated leaf. Rather, re-establishment of the slightest positive turgor was sufficient to result in maximum stimulation of conversion of ABA to PA.