Nitrous oxide (N 2 O) is an important long-lived greenhouse gas and precursor of stratospheric ozone- depleting mono-nitrogen oxides. The atmospheric concentration of N 2 O is persistently increasing; however, large uncertainties are associated with the distinct source strengths. Here we investigate for the fi rst time N 2 O emission from terrestrial vegetation in response to natural solar ultra violet radiation. We conducted fi eld site measurements to investigate N 2 O atmosphere exchange from grass vegetation exposed to solar irradiance with and without UV-screening. Further laboratory tests were conducted with a range of species to study the controls and possible loci of UV-induced N 2 O emission from plants. Plants released N 2 O in response to natural sunlight at rates of c. 20 e 50 nmol m 2 h 1 , mostly due to the UV component. The emission response to UV-A is of the same magnitude as that to UV-B. Therefore, UV-A is more important than UV-B given the natural UV-spectrum at Earth's surface. Plants also emitted N 2 O in darkness, although at reduced rates. The emission rate is temperature dependent with a rather high activation energy indicative for an abiotic process. The prevailing zone for the N 2 O formation ap- pears to be at the very surface of leaves. However, only c. 26% of the UV-induced N 2 O appears to originate from plant-N. Further, the process is dependent on atmospheric oxygen concentration. Our work dem- onstrates that ecosystem emission of the important greenhouse gas, N 2 O, may be up to c. 30% higher than hitherto assumed.