Abstract Identification of the Sym plasmid in Rhizobium phaseoli strain RCC3622 is described. Introduction of this plasmid into R. trifolii or Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains resulted in bacteria capable of forming characteristic spherical root nodules on beans. This Sym plasmid, designated pSym9, was characterized as 275 MDa and nonconjugative. pSym9 was incompatible with the R. trifolii Sym plasmid pSym5, and carries genes determining a melanin-like black pigment. A second plasmid of 135 MDa, pRph3622a, was also transferred from R. phaseoli to R. trifolii and A. tumefaciens. Transconjugants carrying this plasmid did not form root nodules on beans. In contrast to other Rhizobium plasmids, pRph3622a was unstable in A. tumefaciens.