The excision of four out of five primary roots of wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) seedlings often leads to an enhanced rate of transpiration. Surprisingly this enhancement could be maintained for several hours after root excision and was particularly likely to occur at low irradiances or high atmospheric humidity. This long-term enhancement could not be explained in terms of conventional hydropassive stomatal effects. Elevated rates of transpiration were associated with and possibly caused by increased cytokinin concentrations in shoots of plants with partially excised roots. The single root remaining after excision was able to maintain an adequate water uptake for the continued enhanced transpiration, after only a short transient reduction in leaf water content. The enhanced capacity for water uptake by the remaining root was confirmed by measuring the water flow from detached roots at negative hydrostatic pressure. Even without additional suction, flow from the reduced root system increased about 1.5 h after the start of treatment, suggesting an increase in membrane permeability for water. Although abscisic acid (ABA) concentrations in the roots increased after the root excision treatment, there was no evidence for any enhanced concentration in the xylem sap. The possible role that this accumulation of ABA in roots may have in the apparent increase in hydraulic conductivity after root excision is discussed.