Synthesis and movement of abscisic acid (ABA) into the apoplast of water-stressed cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) leaves were examined using pressure dehydration techniques. The exudates of leaves dehydrated in a pressure chamber contained ABA. The level of ABA in the exudates was insensitive to the leaf water potential when dehydration occurred over a 3-hour period. When leaves were rapidly dehydrated in the pressure chamber and held at a balance pressure coincident with the point of zero turgor, ABA accumulated in the leaf tissue and then in the apoplast, but only after 2 to 3 hours of zero turgor. Slow dehydration of leaves by equilibration over varying mannitol concentrations resulted in some accumulation of ABA prior to the point of zero turgor, but ABA accumulated in the tissue and apoplast most rapidly after the onset of zero turgor.