Leaflet abscission in Sambucus nigra is the result of cell wall breakdown at the site of separation. Associated with wall degradation is an increase in the activity of the enzyme β1,4 glucanase (E.C.220.127.116.11) in the cells that comprise the abscission zone. The enzyme has been extracted from abscission zone tissue and purified using a substrate affinity column. A qualitative enzyme assay procedure has been developed and this has facilitated the purification process. The β1,4 glucanase enzyme has a pH optimum of 7 and a molecular mass of 54kDa. Antibodies have been raised to the purified protein. The role of the enzyme in the abscission process is discussed.