Hairy root cultures of Catharanthus roseus were established by infection with six different Agrobacterium rhizogenes strains. Two plant varieties were used and found to exhibit significantly different responses to infection. Forty-seven hairy root clones derived from normal plants and two derived from the flowerless variety were screened for their growth and indole alkaloid production. The growth rate and morphological appearance showed wide variations between the clones. The alkaloid spectra observed were qualitatively but not quantitatively very similar to that of the corresponding normal plant roots. No vindoline or deacetyltransferase activity could be detected in any of the cultures studied. O-acetylval-lesamine, an alkaloid which has not been previously observed in C. roseus was identified from extracts of hairy root clone No. 8. Two root clones were examined for their growth and alkaloid accumulation during a 26-day culture period. Alkaloid accumulation parallelled growth in both clones with ca. 2 mg ajmalicine and catharanthine per g dry weight being observed.