Shoot multiplication was achieved in vitro from shoot tips of aseptically germinated seedlings of Withania somnifera L. using low concentrations of 6-benzyladenine (BA), viz. 2.2, 4.4 and 8.9 μM. Maximum number of shoots were obtained when 2.3 μM 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) or 2.5 μM indolebutyric acid (IBA) was added to medium containing 4.4 μM BA during initiation of shoot multiplication, but not when added later. Direct multiple shoot initiation was also obtained from germinating seeds in the presence of BA alone. Rooting was successful in excised shoots grown on growth regulator-free MS medium. Rooted shoots were successfully established in soil in a greenhouse. © 1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers.