The hormonal regulation of adventitious root formation induced by flooding of the root system was investigated in the wetland species Rumex palustris Sm. Adventitious root development at the base of the shoot is an important adaptation to flooded conditions and takes place soon after the onset of flooding. Decreases in either endogenous auxin or ethylene concentrations induced by application of inhibitors of either auxin transport or ethylene biosynthesis reduced the number of adventitious roots formed by flooded plants, suggesting an involvement of these hormones in the rooting process. The rooting response during flooding was preceded by increased endogenous ethylene concentrations in the root system. The endogenous auxin concentration did not change during flooding-induced rooting, but a continuous basipetal transport of auxin from the shoot to the rooting zone appeared to be essential in maintaining stable auxin concentrations. These results suggest thai the higher ethylene concentration in soil-flooded plants increases the sensitivity of the root-forming tissues to endogenous indoleacetic acid, thus initiating the formation of adventitious roots.