Lipases from several seed species were shown to be relatively specific on triacylglycerols containing the major fatty acid components of the storage triacylglycerols in the same species. In a direct comparison using individual triacylglycerol as well as mixed triacylglycerol preparations, highest activities were observed in corn lipase on trilinolein and triolein, castor bean lipase on triricinolein, rapeseed lipase on trierucin, and elm seed lipase on tricaprin. This pattern of fatty acyl specificity was also observed on diacylglycerols, monoacylglycerols, and fatty acyl 4-methylumbelliferone, although the pattern became less distinct. The seed lipases were inactive on lecithins. Corn lipase was more active on tri- than di- or monolinolein, and released linoleic acids from both primary and secondary positions. As judged from the kinetics of hydrolysis of rac-glyceryl-2,3-stearate-1-oleate and rac-glyceryl-1,3-stearate-2-oleate, and of trilinolein and dilinoleins, corn lipase exerted some degree of preference in releasing fatty acid from the primary than the secondary position of a triacylglycerol. At the primary position, corn lipase was more active on oleyl ester than stearyl ester.