Stomatal conductance of individual leaves was measured in a maize field, together with leaf water potential, leaf turgor, xylem ABA concentration and leaf ABA concentration in the same leaves. Stomatal conductance showed a tight relationship with xylem ABA, but not with the current leaf water status or with the concentration of ABA in the bulk leaf. The relationship between stomatal conductance and xylem [ABA] was common for variations in xylem [ABA] linked to the decline with time of the soil water reserve, to simultaneous differences between plants grown on compacted, non-compacted and irrigated soil, and to plant-to-plant variability. Therefore, this relationship is unlikely to be fortuitous or due to synchronous variations. These results suggest that increased concentration of ABA in the xylem sap in response to stress can control the gas exchange of plants under field conditions.