Grass cell walls are atypical because their xylans are acylated with ferulate and lignins are acylated with p-coumarate. To probe the role and interactions of these p-hydroxycinnamates during lignification, feruloylated primary cell walls isolated from maize cell suspensions were lignified with coniferyl and sinapyl alcohols and with varying levels of p-coumarate esters. Ferulate xylan esters enhanced the formation of wall-bound syringyl lignin more than methyl p-coumarate, however, maximal concentrations of syringyl lignin were only one-third that of guaiacyl lignin. Including sinapyl p-coumarate, the presumed precursor of p-coumaroylated lignins, with monolignols unexpectedly accelerated peroxidase inactivation, interfered with ferulate copolymerization into lignin, and had minimal or adverse effects on cell wall lignification. Free phenolic groups of p-coumarate esters in isolated maize lignin and pith cell walls did not undergo oxidative coupling with each other or with added monolignols. Thus, the extensive formation of syringyl-rich lignins and the functional role of extensive lignin acylation by p-coumarate in grasses remains a mystery.