In glasshouse experiments, plants of P. vulgaris cv. Dark Red Kidney which had 4-5 mature leaves and prominent axillary floral buds were sprayed with 0, 250, 500, 1000 or 2000 ppm ethephon. 250 ppm ethephon controlled bud and flower abscission but not young pod abscission. Leaf abscission was unaffected, internodal elongation was temporarily retarded, the total number of seeds produced exceeded that of untreated plants, but the difference was not significant and the total number of pods produced was similar for treated and untreated plants. 500 ppm ethephon resulted in a pattern of abscission similar to that of untreated plants whereas 1000 and 2000 ppm ethephon promoted abscission of the reproductive structures and leaves and reduced seed production, seed maturity and seed size. New leaves were pendant and were smaller than those of untreated plants.