Exogenous ethylene could not substitute for NAA to induce adventitious root initiation in juvenile petiole explants of English ivy (Hedera helix L.), indicating that the action of auxin-stimulated root initiation was not directly mediated through ethylene production. Mature petioles did not initiate roots under any auxin or ethylene treatment combination. Ethephon or ACC supplied at 50 or 100 μm was inhibitory to NAA-induced root initiation in juvenile petioles. The pattern of ethylene production stimulated by NAA application was significantly different in juvenile and mature petioles. Ethylene evolution by juvenile petioles declined to near control levels during from 6 to 12 days after NAA application. Reduction in ethylene production was due to reduced availability of ACC in juvenile petioles. Mature petioles continued to produce ethylene at elevated levels throughout the course of the experiment. Ethylene does not appear to play a significant role in the differential root initiation response of juvenile and mature petioles treated with NAA. However, ethylene appeared to have an inhibitory effect during root elongation stages of adventitious root development in juvenile petioles. Chemical names used: 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC); 1-napthaleneacetic acid (NAA); 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon).