Abscisic acid (ABA), also known as abscisin II and dormin, is a plant hormone. ABA functions in many plant developmental processes, including bud dormancy. It is degraded by the enzyme (+)-abscisic acid 8'-hydroxylase into phaseic acid.
ABA was originally believed to be involved in abscission. This is now known to be the case only in a small number of plants. ABA-mediated signalling also plays an important part in plant responses to environmental stress and plant pathogens. The plant genes for ABA biosynthesis and sequence of the pathway have been elucidated. ABA is also produced by some plant pathogenic fungi via a biosynthetic route different from ABA biosynthesis in plants.
Abscisic acid owes its names to its role in the abscission of plant leaves. In preparation for winter, ABA is produced in terminal buds. This slows plant growth and directs leaf primordia to develop scales to protect the dormant buds during the cold season. ABA also inhibits the division of cells in the vascular cambium, adjusting to cold conditions in the winter by suspending primary and secondary growth.