By application of a recently developed method allowing analysis of gibberellins (GAs) in mg amounts of tissue, the effect of photoperiod on levels of GAs in shoot tips of individual seedlings of the woody species Salix pentandra was studied. In elongating long day-grown seedlings, maximum levels of GA1 were found 5–20 mm below the apex, approximately twice the levels in other segments. After exposure of plants to 5 or 15 short days, the levels of GA1 were about 50% lower within this specific region of the stem, as compared with seedlings grown under long days. Short day-induced cessation of shoot elongation also correlated with overall declines in the levels of GA53, GA19, GA20 and GA8, Within each photoperiodic treatment the levels of these GAs were generally relatively similar throughout the upper 35 mm of stems. No differences in internode lengths or in lengths of pith or epidermal cells were found in plants grown under long days compared with those exposed to 5 short days. In both cases, cells in mitosis were observed in the subapical stem tissues of shoot tips. After 15 short days, stem elongation was completed, and dividing cells were generally not found in the subapical part of the stem. However, short day exposure did not prevent elongation of internodes and cells differentiated before the treatment was started. Thus, the localised decrease in level of GA1 in shoot tips under short days precedes the morphological and anatomical changes connected with the short day-induced cessation of elongation growth. This supports the hypothesised role for GA1 in photoperiodic control of shoot elongation in S. pentandra.